Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pneumonia outbreak wiped out 20% of rare wild goats in Tajikistan

A pneumonia outbreak has wiped out as many as 20 percent of the rare wild goats in Tajikistan, Central Asia, researchers say.

Working together, researchers from Central Asia, France and the Wildlife Conservation Society determined that a pneumonia outbreak that occurred in Tajikistan during September and October 2010 may have killed at least 65 markhors (Capra falconeri).

That may not seem like all that many goats, but fewer than 2,500 of the endangered goats exist worldwide, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Markhor goats are known for their distinctive corkscrew horns, which can grow to lengths of nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters). Despite the goats' large size, their amazing climbing ability enables them to scale cliffs and even climb trees while searching for plants to feed on. Read More