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Pakistan joins UN to celebrate International Day of the Markhor for first time

'Markhors have long been Pakistan’s national treasure,' says UN resident coordinator in Pakistan
Markhor seen at Chitral Gol National Park (CGNP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Photo via Chitral Gol National Park
Markhor seen at Chitral Gol National Park (CGNP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Photo via Chitral Gol National Park

Pakistan celebrated the first-ever ‘International Day of the Markhor’ on May 24 (today) after it was proclaimed by the United Nations earlier this month to highlight the importance of conserving this magnificent species and its habitat.

The decision was made on May 2, with Pakistan and eight other countries sponsoring the resolution.

The establishment of the International Day of the Markhor aims to encourage global conservation efforts and highlight the importance of continued international cooperation to protect this iconic species.

“Markhors have long been Pakistan’s national treasure. Today, they have also become a world treasure,” UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan Mohamed Yahya said.

He highlighted the crucial role of markhors in the ecosystem, symbolising the animal to foster the economy and promote sustainable tourism with economic growth.

“This will be in line with the Government’s ‘Living Indus’ initiative which the United Nations supports,” he stated.

It also ties into Pakistan’s “Living Indus” environmental initiative, which was recently designated as a “World Restoration Flagship” project by the UN.

The Markhor is an ecologically important species that plays a vital role in its ecosystem. However, its population is declining globally, with less than 6,000 mature individuals remaining.

Pakistan has seen its Markhor population increase over the past 10 years, reaching between 3,500 to 5,000 due to the country’s conservation efforts and community engagement.

The Markhor is known for its distinctive spiral-shaped horns and its skilled climbing abilities, allowing it to traverse rugged mountainous terrain.

The main threats to the Markhor are habitat loss, illegal hunting, and climate change.

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United Nations

Int’l Day of Markhor