In the late 1800s, Fordham University sold some land to the City of New York, on condition that the lands be used for a zoo and garden. They did this in order to create a buffer between the university grounds and the urban expansion that was beginning to encroach into the area. New York state followed through on its intentions to develop the land as a park, and in 1899 opened the Bronx Zoological Park to the public.
Since then, the Bronx Zoo has grown to be the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, boasting about 650 different animal species.
News Release From Wildlife Conservation Society
Last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) added a herd of endangered Turkmenian flare-horned markhor (Capra falconeri hepterni) to the Bronx Zoo.
The markhor is a unique species of goat found in the mountains of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. They inhabit upper elevations, with vegetation as their food source. Skilled at climbing, they will scale steep rocky terrain to escape predators such as snow leopards and wolves.
The Bronx Zoo herd consists of three adult males, easily identified by their huge spiraled horns and distinct coats; several females, which are smaller than the males and have much shorter horns; and their offspring.
Already seen proudly clambering atop the rocks of their new enclosure, the Bronx Zoo’s markhor live with a herd of Himalayan tahr, another species of Asiatic mountain goat found in areas of China, Tibet, Nepal, and northern India.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies markhor as endangered, with fewer than 2,500 animals remaining in the wild. Their impressive twisted horns and thick fur make them a target for trophy hunters and poachers. They are also susceptible to habitat loss from expansion of land used for domestic livestock.
The WCS has been working to save wild markhor in the mountains of northern Pakistan since 1997. Now working with 65 communities, the WCS has seen a 50 percent increase in markhor populations in the last decade, with estimates placed at 1,500 wild markhor in this landscape—a significant proportion of the global population of this endangered mountain goat.
Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 p.m. weekends from April to October. Visit the website Bronxzoo.com.