The Astor Markhor or the Flare-horned Markhor (Capra falconeri falconeri) is an endangered species of Markhor. It is native to Kashmir and northern Pakistan. The Astor Markhor has large, flat horns, branching widely and then going up nearly straight with only a half turn. It is synonymous with Capra falconeri cashmiriensis or Pir Panjal Markhor, which has heavy, flat horns, twisted like a corkscrew. The Astor Markhor also has a tendency to sexually segregate outside the mating season because of multiple different mechanisms. The females are usually confined to cliffs with less forage coverage, while the males live in areas with a lot more forage coverage. 
Within Afghanistan, the Astor Markhor is limited to the east in the high and mountainous monsoon forests of Laghman and Nuristan. In Indian-occupied kashmir, this subspecies is restricted to a portion of the Pir Panjal range in southwestern Jammu and Kashmir. Throughout this range, Astor Markhor populations are scattered, starting east of the Banihal Pass (50 km from the Chenab River) on the Jammu–Srinagar highway westward to the disputed de-facto border with Pakistan. Recent surveys indicate it still occurs in catchments of the Limber and Lachipora Rivers in the Jhelum Valley Forest Division, and around Shupiyan to the south of Srinagar. In Pakistan, the Astor Markhor there is restricted to the Indus and its tributaries, as well as to the Kunar (Chitral) River and its tributaries. Along the Indus, it inhabits both banks from Jalkot (Kohistan District) upstream to near the Tungas village (Baltistan), with Gakuch being its western limit up the Gilgit River, Chalt up the Hunza River, and the Parishing Valley up the Astore River. It has been said to occur on the right side of the Yasin Valley (Gilgit District), though this is unconfirmed. The flare-horned Markhor is also found around Chitral and the border areas with Afghanistan, where it inhabits a number of valleys along the Kunar River (Chitral District), from Arandu on the west bank and Drosh on the east bank, up to Shoghor along the Lutkho River, and as far as Barenis along the Mastuj River. The largest population is currently found in Chitral National Park in Pakistan.
References[change | change source]
- Lydekker, Richard (1900). The great and small game of India, Burma, and Tibet. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-1162-7. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- Ahmad, R., Sharma, N., Mishra, C., Singh, N. J., Rawat, G. S., & Bhatnagar, Y. V. (2018). Security, size, or sociality: what makes Markhor (Capra falconeri) sexually segregate?. Journal of Mammalogy, 99(1), 55-63.
- Michel, S.; Rosen, Michel T. (2008). "Capra falconeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2015.old-form url