Bezoar goat - Capra aegagrus Erxleben, 1777

Cattle, antelopes and goats - Bovidae

Status. Listed in the Red Data Book of the former USSR. Listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 3.1) as Vulnerable VU A2cd. According to IUCN criteria categorized as Vulnerable VU B2ab(iii); C2a(i).

Distribution. The range extends from the North Caucasus (Daghestan) to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Distribution in Armenia. Distributed on the Sevan Ridge (near the Shorzha village), western branches of the Geghama Ridge (Khosrov Forest Reserve), Garni, Urts, Vardenis, Vayots Dzor, Zangezur, Bargushat and Meghri ridges and in the Noravank Canyon. Isolated groups have survived on the Mt. Khustup, in the Vorotan River gorge and the headwater mountains of the Arpa riverside. The species has vanished from the Pambak Ridge and the Mt. Aragats.

Habitats. The typical habitats are rocky mountains with hardly accessible cliffs and sparse forests. An essential requirement is presence of dense scrubs, rocky massifs and shelters.

Biological traits. Rutting behaviour occurs from late November to early December. Kids, usually twins, are born in mid–May. Kept at the Yerevan Zoo. Successfully bred in captivity.

Population size and its trends. Most recent census shows that the bezoar goat population in Armenia numbers 1000–1500 individuals. The population is severely fragmented and split into distant and isolated groups.

Major threats. Poaching, land encroachment, mining, habitat destruction and overgrazing.

Conservation measures. Protected in Khosrov Forest Reserve, Shikahogh Reserve, Arevik National Park, Sevan National Park, Zangezur Sanctuary and some other sanctuaries in Southern Armenia. Armenian branch of WWF assists to establishment and enforcement of protected areas within the bezoar goat range. It is essential to strengthen anti–poaching efforts and to enforce conservation activities.

© A. Malkhasyan

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Dal, 1954; Gasparyan, 1974; Airumyan, Gasparyan, 1976; Red Data Book of the former USSR, 1984; Red Data Book of the former Armenian SSR, 1987; Shackleton, 1997; WWF, 2008; Khorozyan et al., 2009

Compiler. A. Malkhasyan