A pair of markhor twins have become the latest additions in a baby boom at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park in the United Kingdom.
On June 18 the twin Turkmenian markhors were born with one being male and the other a female. They join two older kids who were born during May meaning there are now 15 markhor at the park. Mother Nettle gave birth to both the bubs.
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park is the only place in the United Kingdom where you can see this critically endangered species. Head of Animal Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, Douglas Richardson said, “The most important role for any modern zoological institution is to act as a safety net for highly threatened species by managing them in captivity as a buffer against possible extinction in the wild. Unfortunately, much of the attention and funding is given to high-profile species such as the tiger and rhino, and it does mean that other lesser known animals, such as the markhor, sometimes don’t receive the attention or resources they deserve. This is why we believe it is vital to breed this highly threatened species and why we are delighted at the arrival of the new kids.”
The decline of this species is a result of poaching for their horn which may be used as a trophy or in Asian medicines. The name Markhor is believed to mean ‘Snake eater’ which comes from a folklore belief that can kill snakes and eat them. In reality this species is a strict herbivore feeding mostly on grasses.
Males are noticeable due to their 160cm long spiralling horns and impressive beards. Females also have slightly smaller beards.
Photo Credit: RZSS Highland Wildlife Park