Giant goat survives war zone

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The ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Kashmir has produced an unexpected beneficiary - the world's largest goat.

The markhor, a mountain goat that stands almost 6ft tall at the shoulder and can weigh 17 stone, was thought to be extinct in Indian-held Kashmir. But a recent joint survey by Indian wildlife organisations and the Indian army found 35 small herds - 155 goats - thriving near the Line of Control.

As recently as 1970 there were 25,000 on the Indian side, but by 1997 they had been driven to near extinction. The main cause was the conflict. But markhor are also hunted for their spiral horns - a mounted pair can sell for £850. The horns are also used for Chinese medicine; a kilogram fetches £600 in China.

Markhor are considered critically endangered, but other populations have survived in the mountains of Pakistan away from the Line of Control, and in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

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