Wild sheep and goats and their relatives: status survey and conservation action

Published by IUCN

Wild caprinae, including sheep and goats, are an extremely valuable group of mammals. While most live in mountains, some inhabit desert grasslands, tropical forests or even arctic tundra. They range in size from the 30kg goral to the 350kg musk ox and display a variety of horn shapes and sizes as well as coat and body coloration. They are highly prized by hunters on account of their horns and their coats. Today, despite their important domestic relations, many wild caprinae are in danger of being lost forever: over 70 of caprinae taxa are threatened and over 30 endangered or critical. The main threats to them are over-harvesting, habitat loss and resource competition from livestock. Some face an additional threat from trophy hunters. Despite this, however, conservation legislation is either absent or, more often, poorly enforced. This action plan explores the value of caprinae to biodiversity, the threats facing the members of the species, and makes recommendations to reverse current trends. It also emphasises the importance to carpinae conservation and survival of close collaboration among all parties involved in wildlife conservation including local peoples and hunting organisations, governments, scientists and academic institutions.