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Friday June 14, 2024

Pakistan Post issues stamps to protect endangered Kashmir Markhor species

By M. Waqar Bhatti
June 08, 2024
This image shows Kashmir Markhor in Chitral Gol National Park (CGNP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwain this image released on August 14, 2021. — X/@ZahranCR
This image shows Kashmir Markhor in Chitral Gol National Park (CGNP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwain this image released on August 14, 2021. — X/@ZahranCR

Islamabad: To conserve and protect the Markhor population and their habitats, Pakistan Post, in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan, has issued stamps showcasing the Kashmir Markhor.

These stamps were released during a launch ceremony organized at the Pakistan Academy of Sciences in Karachi on Friday.

According to experts, the Kashmir Markhor in Pakistan faces numerous threats that jeopardize its survival. Major threats to the Markhor population include habitat loss, agricultural expansion, illegal hunting, climate change, and infrastructure development.

These challenges have led to a drastic decline in the Markhor population across its habitat range. Experts call for comprehensive conservation efforts to protect and preserve this iconic species.

The Markhor, declared the national animal of Pakistan, is a large wild goat species native to South Asia and Central Asia, mainly found in Pakistan, India, the Karakoram range, parts of Afghanistan, and the Himalayas. Since 2015, it has been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Based on their horn configuration, Markhors are divided into five sub-species: Astor markhor, Bukharan markhor, Kabul markhor, Kashmir Markhor, and Suleiman Markhor.Speaking at the ceremony, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General of WWF-Pakistan, said that this postage stamp not only celebrates the existence of the Kashmir Markhor but also highlights the need for concerted conservation efforts to safeguard their future. This initiative aims to draw attention to the species’ threatened status and the pressing need for habitat preservation and anti-poaching measures.

He further stated that the issuance of a postage stamp dedicated to the Kashmir Markhor would serve as a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve our natural heritage for future generations. “It will also provide a platform to showcase Pakistan’s commitment to wildlife conservation on the global stage,” he added.

Rizwan Hashmi, Additional Director General of Pakistan Post, said that Pakistan is home to rich biodiversity, including the Indus River dolphin, whales, common leopard, snow leopard, and many resident and migratory birds. This postage stamp featuring the Kashmir Markhor expresses the government’s commitment to raising awareness and protecting this threatened species.

Hashmi emphasized the importance of promoting collaborative conservation initiatives that address threats to wildlife and take on-ground actions. He appreciated the role of communities in the protection of the Markhor species in Pakistan.

As true goats of the Himalayas, the Kashmir Markhor is the most spectacular among wild goats, distinguished by its large body, long spiraling horns, thick fur, and flowing beard and neck ruff. It is widely spread from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.