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Bezoar, Wild goat - Capra aegagrus

Family:
Sheep, goats (Artiodactyla Bovidae Caprinae)
Status:
Vulnerable

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Taxonomic status

Scientific name

Capra aegagrus

Common name

Bezoar, Wild goat

Synonyms

Bezoar

Comments on the subspecies

Three subspecies currently recognised: aegagrus, blythi and chialtanensis. [Florstedti (Taurus mountain, Turkey) = aegagrus]. Passang is another common name for the Wild Goat.

The Domestic Goat and the Wild Goat are treated here as separate species, named Capra hircus and Capra aegagrus respectively. These taxa are sometimes considered to be conspecific, in which case the name Capra aegagrus has generally been used to refer to the wild species and its domesticated form, although some authors use the name Capra hircus for both the wild species and its domestic descendants.

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Species information

Physical characteristics

Coat colour varies from greyish to brown, often with a reddish tint. Males turn white with age. Both sexes have dark brown or black stripes on the face, anterior leg surfaces and along the spine. Females have small horns while males have long and massive ones that are scimitar in shape and keeled. Males are much heavier than females and also possess a prominent beard.

Maximum Male       Female     
Body weight (kg)      90      30
Head-body length (cm)                  155    126
Horn length (cm)    144      35.6
Shoulder height (cm)      95      74

Cretan wild goat

Cretan wild goat.

 

 

Habitat, behaviour, food and reproduction

Habitat

The wild goat inhabits mountainous areas, characterized by a mixture of rocky outcrops, including scree slopes, and vegetation such as shrubby thickets (maquis) and coniferous forests. It is often found in relatively arid habitats, though it is a forest species in the Caucasus region.

The wild goat inhabits a wide range of habitats varying from arid lowlands with maquis vegetation (tall shrubland) to coniferous forests and alpine meadows in mountainous areas. Rocky outcrops, including scree slopes, are a characteristic element of these habitats providing escape terrain. It is herbivorous, feeding on grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs. It is both a grazer and a browser feeding on grasses, herbaceous plants, shrubs and mushrooms.

Scree, Greece, Crete. Photo: Alkiviadis Geskos

Scree, Greece, Crete.

 

 

Reproduction

 

Gestation Period 150 - 170 days
Young per Birth 1-2 (3 have also been reported)
Weaning 4-6 months
Sexual Maturity male: 1.5 years, female; 1,5-2,5 years
Life span 12 (up to 22 years)

source: Wikipedia, Weinberg 2001, Schaller 1977 and Walker’s Mammals of the World, online

Predation

The Wild Goat has a number of known predators in the wild. These are the Snow Leopard, the Leopard, the Cheetah and the Golden Jackal.

Population size and trends

The global population of wild goat has not been estimated. Although the species ranges very widely, it is probably extremely rare or absent in much of its mapped range. In some places it is clearly decreasing rapidly. However, there is also evidence of localised population recovery when adequate protection is in place.

The population trend across its range is likely to be a significant decrease, estimated at more than 30% over three generations.

There is an urgent need for updated information on the status of this species. Specific information on country-level abundance is as follows:

Afghanistan

No estimates of population numbers are available, but the species is probably now very rare in this country.

Caucasus

The species is represented by the nominate subspecies (C. a. aegagrus) which inhabits, here, mainly forested areas, so no accurate census could be performed to date.

Young adult male agrimi winter coat. Photo: Alkiviadis Geskos

Young adult male agrimi winter coat.

The total population estimate for wild goat was between 3,500 and 4,000 individuals in the late 1980s, with 1,500 in the Greater Caucasus and the rest in the Caucasus Minor, where more than half (1,000 to 1,250) lived in the southern half of the Zangezur range. At the end of 1990s, 2,500 animals were estimated for Daghestan alone, but numbers were declining rapidly, by 50% in three years.

The overall population trend for the nominate subspecies is negative, and in recent years the rate of decline has increased.

Iran

No estimates of total numbers are currently available. However, 1991 estimates are available for Golestan National Park - 2,500 animals, and for Alborz-Markazy Protected Area - 4,000 animals.

Iraq

There are no population estimates, but the species is probably extremely rare, if it survives at all.

Pakistan

Two subspecies occur:

For Capra aegagrus blythi there is no overall population estimate. Most survive in small inaccessible areas in isolated populations. However, reasonable numbers are reported for the Dhrun and Hingol areas.

Adult female agrim, Crete. Photo: Alkiviadis Geskosi

Adult female agrim, Crete.

Kirthar National Park probably contains the largest population of Sind wild goat in the country. In the Karchat Mountains, which are within Kirthar National Park, the population has increased from between 400 and 500 when the establishment park was established in 1973 to around 950 to 1,050.
For the whole Park, Mirza and Asghar estimated a total of 1,480 goats, while Kermani and Khan gave an optimistic number of 4,000 animals. According to observations in 1987, the total population inhabiting the Park was between 1,500 and 2,000 goats. The adjacent Surjan-Sumbak-Eri-Hothiano Game Reserve contained another 900 to 1,100, resulting in a total estimate of 2,400 to 3,100 wild goat for Sind Province.

For Capra aegagrus chialtanensis the single population totalled around 168 animals in 1975. Due to rigid protection following establishment of the National Park in 1980, the population had increased to 480 animals by 1990 but this improvement may not have continued.

There is an urgent need to updated information on the abundance of the wild goat in Pakistan.

Turkey

It is declining in Turkey throughout its range, and the total population is believed to be less than 10,000 mature individuals, with no subpopulation larger than 1,000 mature individuals.

Turkmenistan

Korshunov, whose data are the most reliable, estimated that the total population was up to 7,000 animals.

AreaNumbersDevelopment
Worldunknownurgent need for updated information
Afghanistan?Decreasing
Caucasus total pop. estimate3,500-4,000Decreasing
Caucasus, Greater Caucasus1,500Decreasing
Caucasus, Caucasus Minor: Zangezur range1,000-1,250Decreasing
Caucasus, Daghestan2,500 - 1,250Decreasing
Iran6,500Decreasing
Iraq?Extremely rare
Pakistan, Sind Province2,400-3,100unknown
Turkey<10,000Decreasing
Turkmenistan7,000Decreasing
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Distribution: maps, historical and current

Countries

Landscapes

Interactive map

Capra aegagrus - Bezoar, Wild goat: Current distribution
Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species


View Bezoar, Wild Goat in a larger map

Further map information

Range map Bezoar

Historical distribution

The Wild Goat ranges discontinuously from central Afghanistan and southern Pakistan, West through Iran, western Turkmenistan, northern Iraq, the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, northeastern Georgia, and southern Russia), as far as southwestern Turkey.

It once occurred in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, but is now extinct in these countries.
It also occurred in Israel until 10,000 ago.

Current distribution

Wild Goat range in particular countries and regions is as follows:

Afghanistan

It is probably confined to the Hazarajat and Uruzgan mountains in central Afghanistan, including the arid Feroz Koh and Siyah Koh in the headwaters of the Hari Rud, Farah Rud, Helmand and Arghandab rivers. However, no animals were observed by FAO or WWF survey teams in the 1970s, but horns and skulls were occasionally seen at shrines and grave sites.

One captive animal seen in 1975 in a private zoo in Kandahar, was reputedly caught in the nearby mountains.

The species had probably been reduced to a small portion of its former range by the late 1970s.

Its current status in the country is unknown.

Caucasus

Bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus) has been widely distributed in the mountains of the Caucasus and particularly Georgia. During the last century populations of bezoar goat dramatically decreased, mostly because of unregulated hunting and poaching. Presently, within boundaries of the Georgia, only small population survived in Khevsureti-Tusheti province of the East Greater Caucasus. Outside Georgia, the closest relatively healthy populations occur in Daghestan/Russian Federation (East Greater Caucasus, estimated number - 2000 individuals) and South Armenia-Nakhchyvan Autonomy of Azerbaijan (South-West Lesser Caucasus, estimated number - 2200-2500 individuals). Status of those populations was assessed in 2007-2008.

The distribution of Capra aegagrus aegagrus is in two separate parts. It occurs in forested areas along northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountains from the Upper Argun river, in Chechen-Ingushetia and in Georgia, up to the headwaters of the Jurmut river in Daghestan, with an isolated population on the southern slopes of Mount Babadagh, Azerbaijan. 

It also occurs in the drier, more open habitats in the Caucasus Minor mountains in both Azerbaijan and Armenia, south and east of Sevang lake, namely the Shakhdagh, Mrovdagh, Karabakh, Gegam, Vardenis and Zangezur ranges, and on the Delidagh massif.

Borjomi-Kharagauli NP is located in eastern part of West Lesser Caucasus mountain chain covering 76,000 ha of temperate broad-leaf and coniferous forests, and alpine grasslands. During initial WWF project on bezoar goat reintroduction in the NP, implemented in 2003-2006, nine individuals (six females and three males) were transported from Armenia and placed in enclosure. Experts from Armenia provided instructions for keeping animals. Later enclosure has been enlarged. Presently, only five individuals survived: three from initial group (one female and two males) and two males born in enclosure.

Greece

The Agrimi or Cretan Wild Goat (formerly classified as Capra aegagrus cretica) survives on the central and western parts of the Lefka Ori mountain range (Samaria National Forest Park and nearby gorges) of Crete. According to surveys 2004-2008, its population is decreasing. In 2007, it was estimated at 960-990 animals. Its status was evaluated as Vulnerable (D1+2) (Geskos 2009). It was introduced in the 20th century to the islets of Thodorou, Dia (exterminated due to hybridization with Capra hircus), Aghii Pantes, Moni, Sapientza and Atalandi, and to the Mt Parnitha National Park (central Greece).

The most recent assumption regarding its origin is that it comes from Wild Goat stock brought to Crete, approx., 8,000 years ago. Its genetic affinity to Capra hircus is explained as partial inter-breeding with domestic animals through millenia (Horwitz & Bar-Gal 2006).

Iran

The wild goat is widely distributed throughout Iran wherever large areas of rocky terrain are available. This includes not only mountainous areas, but also cliffs along the seashore, in deciduous forested areas of the north, and in areas of the central desert.

Iraq

If it still occurs in Iraq, it would most likely be found in the Zagros mountains in the extreme north and along the northeastern border with Iran.

Nothing is known of current distributions.

Lebanon

The wild goat used to be relatively common in Barouk, the Ammiq mountains and on Mount Harmon, northern Lebanon.

However, by the early 1900s it was extinct in Lebanon.

Oman

In 1963, a male was captured on the mountains near Masafi, 20 miles from Manama. It is possible that an unsuspected population survives in the Western Hajr of U.A.E./Oman (Harrison 1968).

Pakistan

The present range of Sind wild goat (Capra aegagrus blythi) is the Baluchistan plateau and its foothills in South-western Pakistan. Populations are scattered on arid mountain ranges that are isolated by lowlands of southern Baluchistan and Sind. The range includes the low Mekran coastal range (District Gwadar), areas up to 3,250 m asl in the Koh-i-Maran range south of Quetta (District Kalat), and also the Kirthar range (Districts of Dadu and Las Bela).

The Chiltan goat (Capra aegagrus chialtanensis) was restricted in the early 1970s to four or five populations in the accessible mountain ranges (Chiltan, Murdar, Koh-i-Maran and Koh-i-Gishk ranges) South of Quetta. Today, these have been reduced, principally by uncontrolled hunting, to only one surviving population in the Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park (Districts of Quetta and Kalat).

Syria

Wild goat was reported in northern Syria, in the mountains north of Dimasq, and must once have occurred in the western mountains as well.

However, it is now believed to be extinct.

Turkey

The wild goat ranges widely in Turkey, east from the Datca peninsula, through the Taurus and Anti-Taurus mountains in the mountainous regions of southeastern, eastern and northeastern Anatolia.

Turkmenistan

The Turkmen wild goat (Capra aegagrus blythi [= turcmenica]), occurs in scattered populations in the central Kopet Dagh along the border between Turkmenistan and Iran and in the Large Balkhan (Bolshye) North of Nebit Dagh.

It is not known whether this subspecies still inhabits the Small Balkhan (Malye).

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Threats

The major threats to this species are poaching, competition for food with domestic livestock, and disturbance and habitat loss from logging and land clearing.

Afghanistan

Overhunting and colonisation of their habitat by livestock resulted in depleted numbers prior to 1979, with small bands of wild goats forced into the most inaccessible parts of the mountain ranges.

Caucasus

Main threats in the Greater Caucasus are poaching and logging, since animals are mostly confined to forested areas.

In the Caucasus Minor, there is also competition with livestock.

The state of war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has a negative impact upon the main local populations of the wild goat.

Iran

Poaching, competition for food with domestic livestock, and disturbance and habitat loss from logging and land clearing, are major threats.

Lebanon

The extinction of wild goat in Lebanon was caused by large scale habitat destruction and the disregard of hunting regulations.

Pakistan

Within its range, the species is only locally abundant and under successful protection only in a few areas (e.g., in Sind Province).

Most of the animals are in scattered populations on mountain ranges isolated from each other by lowlands. Consequently, they are at risk, especially because local people and nomadic tribes graze their domestic stock on most of the mountain ranges used by wild goats, and because hunting is still widespread.

Syria

Extinction was probably caused by habitat destruction and hunting.

Turkey

It is declining in Turkey principally due to over-hunting.

 

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Conservation information

IUCN Red List

Vulnerable: A2cd ver 3.1

EU habitat directive

-

CITES

-

EU Wildlife trade regulation EC Reg. 338/97

-

Bern convention

-

Bonn convention

-

Conservation status

Listed as Vulnerable because of a population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations, inferred from over-exploitation, shrinkage in distribution, and habitat destruction and degradation.

Conservation measures:

No extension of irrigated cultivation, reduction of livestock grazing by the locals and immigrants and prohibition of tree felling, cutting branches for livestock fodder, poaching, stone quarrying and honey collection within the park.

Other suggestions:
  • Implement the management ecommendations for Kirthar National Park.
  • Consider alternative livelihoods for the people who would be displaced by implementation Kirthar National Park's management plan.
  • Develop a range management program for the Park based upon a system of zones of varying use-intensity by humans and livestock.
  • Implementation of such restrictions on the human population, must be accompanied not only by some form of compensation, but also include responsible involvement of the local community in conservation and agricultural programs. An expert emphasised the importance of participation of the local communities in the wildlife conservation process and gave a list of objectives for a local participatory approach, as well as a list of management goals.
  • Determine the current distribution and status of this species, and assess the remaining habitat before launching any further wild goat conservation projects in the Province of Baluchistan.
  • Consider implementing Virk's three proposals for Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park:
    • Enlarge the area of Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park by including the adjacent Kerkhasa State Forest to support any increase in the Chiltan goat population.
    • Reintroduce and manage at least one herd of Chiltan goat in a formerly inhabited mountain range (e.g. Murdar, Koh-i-Maran). Such re-introductions would provide ways of presenting wildlife conservation to the public, and involve the local people in the conservation program. Natural dispersal from Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park to neighbouring mountain areas can be expected only over the long term and even then only with a high population density within the Park.
    • Stop allowing hunters to take animals from the last population of Chiltan goat. Only when viable populations have been built up outside the National Park, could a trophy hunting program be considered as a possible means of generating funds for further conservation efforts. If conditions have deteriorated and the Park's effectiveness has declined since 1990, obviously steps should be taken immediately to deal with the problems.

Former Soviet Union

Capra aegagrus aegagrus is protected by law, and was included in Category II in the Red Data Book of the USSR, Georgia and Russia. No more than 200 occur in at least three protected areas.

Protection
  • Turkmen wild goat is also protected. It was included in Class II in the USSR Red Data Book. Kopet Dagh Nature Reserve is the only protected area with this subspecies.
  • The Turkmenistan Government planned to allow hunts for 20 goats in 1993-94; the current licensed hunting situation is not clear.
  • Throughout its range in the former Soviet Union, more strict and effective measures are needed to control of poaching.
  • Most local people in the Caucasus consider wild goats and other species as a source of meat, hides and horns, so stricter prohibition measures alone will not be sufficient.
  • Public awareness programmes are also needed. It is essential to protect the forest habitat of this in Daghestan and elsewhere in the Caucaus. An Ordubad National Park has been established on the southern flank of Zangezur Ridge in Nakhichevan (Caucasus Minor) in an important site for the species.
  • At least two new protected areas are needed, one in western Daghestan, and the other in the Large Balkhan.
  • In Turkmenistan, the wild goat should be re-introduced into the Siunt-Khasardag Nature Reserve in the western Kopet Dagh, and into the Badkhyz Nature Reserve in the Gyaz-Gedyk range.

Iran

The wild goat occurs in several protected areas where hunting is prohibited and livestock grazing is strictly controlled. It is found in seven National Parks, 11 Wildlife Refuges, and 34 Protected Areas throughout the country. They can be hunted under licence outside protected areas between September and February each year, but more strict enforcement of hunting regulations is needed.

Iraq

Surveys are needed to determine the status and distribution of this species, and in particular whether or not any populations remain in the country.

Lebanon

A captive breeding plan and subsequent re-introduction program has been proposed, in conjunction with one in Syria.

Pakistan

In addition to the Kirthar and Hazarganji-Chiltan National Parks, there are several reserves providing different levels of protection to wild goats in the country, but for many, no management plans have been developed and most lack even supervisory staff.

A wildlife management plan for Kirthar National Park recommended:

  • The world's last remaining population of Chiltan goat is restricted to Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park where ca. 480 animals lived in 1990. Previous efforts to protect this Park included more administrative staff, control of livestock grazing, wood cutting, poaching, and construction of ca. 30 km boundary fence.
  • This resulted in a marked recovery of the vegetation and an increase in the Chiltan goat population prior to 1990.
  • However, there are reports that conditions have recently deteriorated in this National Park.

Syria

The proposed joint re-introduction project with Lebanon should be implemented.

Turkey

Much stricter conservation measures are needed to control hunting, and especially to secure the future of the larger populations.

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Library

Posters and illustrations

Presentations

Reports

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Experts and scientific referees

IUCN SSC

For more detailed information view the 'Bezoar, Wild goat - Capra aegagrus' page on to the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Geskos, Alkiviadis

Agrimi Capra 'aegagrus cretica', Red deer Cervus elaphus, gorges, conifer forests

Ghasemi, Amin

Hemami, Mahmoud-Reza

Ungulates
Isfahan University of Technology, Iran

Jungius, Hartmut

Member of ECNC Scientific Council
WWF international

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All comments on Bezoar, Wild goat (Capra aegagrus)

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