Bulletin
Service Issues Revised Proposed Rule Reclassifying the Straight-Horned Markhor Under the Endangered Species Act
Service received new information resulting in combined taxon

December 5, 2013

Contacts:
Claire Cassel
Claire_Cassel@fws.gov
(703) 358-2357
cell: (703) 346-9941


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced revisions to the August 7, 2012, proposed rule to reclassify the straight-horned markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The revisions are the result of new information the Service received during the public comment period indicating Capra falconeri jerdoni is no longer a valid taxon and has been combined with Capra falconeri megaceros. The combined taxon retains the common name straight-horned markhor.
 
The 2012 proposed rule includes a special rule that would allow importation, without an ESA threatened species permit, of straight-horned markhor trophies from approved management programs that meet certain criteria to enhance the survival of the subspecies in the wild.
 
The Service conducted a status review of the larger entity, C.f. megaceros, which occurs in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The proposed reclassification from endangered to threatened recognizes the substantial contributions to the recovery of the species occurring in the Torghar Hills, a chain of rugged sandstone ridges within the Toba Kakar Range in Pakistan. Local people have implemented a wildlife management plan called the Torghar Conservation Project (TCP). The TCP is an innovative, community-based conservation program that allows for limited trophy hunting to conserve local populations of markhor, improves habitat for both markhor and domestic livestock, and improves the economic conditions for local tribes in Torghar. In effect since 1985, the program has increased the markhor population from fewer than 200 individuals in 1984 to 3,518 in 2011.
 
The revised proposed listing reclassification and proposed special rule for this subspecies will publish in the Federal Register on December 5, 2013. The publication of this rule will be available online at http://www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by clicking on the 2013 Proposed Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
 
Written comments and information concerning the proposed reclassification, proposed special rule and status review for this subspecies can be submitted by one of the following methods:
 
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0003; or
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-R9-ES-2011-0003]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
 
Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before February 3, 2014. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.
 
Addition of a foreign species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife places restrictions on the importation of the animal and its parts or products. Listing can also generate conservation benefits, such as increasing awareness of the species, prompting research efforts to address conservation needs, or funding conservation in range countries.
 
The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and to date has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Ecological Service program’s Branch of Foreign Species, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/international-activities.html.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.