Existing wildlife in Pakistan
A file photo of Suleman Markhor in the rugged mountains of Takatu in north of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province: Photo provided by Abdul Khaliq Bazai

Deforestation illegal hunting put lives of Suleman Markhor at peril 

Syed Muhammad Yaseen

Deforestation, illegal hunting, and pollution pose a serious threat to the lives of Suleman Markhor. Suleman Markhor is the national mammal of Pakistan that has been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

“Deforestation, depletion of vegetarian cover, range degradation put the lives of Markhor in danger”, Dr. Faiz Kakar, the former IUCN Chief Balochistan informed. In Takatu mountains, the number of Markhor, a large straight horn goat is from 1,000 to 1,200 according to conservative estimates currently.

Markhor is roaming in the Takatu mountains an estimated area of thousands of hectares of land. The mountains snake through district Quetta, Ziarat, and Pishin. “Solid waste coupled with pollution also dangerous for Markhor”, Mr. Kakar mentioned.

However, officials described the scarcity of water as one of the underlying reasons behind troubles for Markhor.  “Scarcity of water poses a serious threat to Markhors’ lives”, Abdul Khaliq Bazai, an officer of the Balochistan Wildlife said.

The number of Markhor declined to only 100 during 1996

“The number of Markhor declined to only 100 during 1996”, Mr. Bazai informed. At that time, Quetta and most parts of Balochistan were suffering from the worst drought that destroyed standing crops. The drought had destroyed agriculture and livestock sectors across the province causing migration of the people.

Residents of Takatu managed the provision of water through donkeys in rugged mountains on their own to keep the endangered species alive. Chief Justice Balochistan High Court (BHC), Mr. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail took personal notice of the issue. After CJ’s notice, the forest department provided water through tankers to avoid the death of Markhor because of a scarcity of water.

“Illegal hunting and scarcity of water pose a serious threat to the lives of Markhor”, Mr. Bazai stated. The Balochistan Wildlife and Forest department have deployed 11 guards in the mountain to guard the Markhors.

Markhor hardly survives after the age of 10 years 

After 10 years, Suleman Markhor can hardly survive, Khaliq Bazai said. He demanded of the Balochistan government to allow limited hunting and charge those coming for hunting. The number of Markhor can increase if illegal hunting is stopped and drinking water arranged, Mr. Bazai said.

Apart from Takatu, the number of Markhor is also in the thousands in the Tor Ghar area located in district Killa Saifullah. Local tribesmen have been protecting the endangered species for years.

Deforestation illegal hunting put lives of Suleman Markhor at peril 

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.