IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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The bovid known as the Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus) was the progenitor of the Domestic Goat, although domestic goats have probably been hybridized with other wild goat species in Asia. Wild Goats are found in western Asia (since their introduction in 1970, a free-roaming population maintained by hunting at 500 to 1000 individuals has also existed in New Mexico [U.S.A.]). They live in rocky habitats associated with cliffs from sea level to around 4000 m (but usually below 2500 m). Although in Daghestan they inhabit some montane forests, in general Wild Goats are associated with deserts and semi-arid areas. Natural predators such as Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) and Leopards (Panthera pardus) have been extirpated in most areas now occupied by Wild Goats.

Both sexes have horns, but on males these are much larger, curving up and backwards. Wild Goats are diurnal, feeding in the early morning and late afternoon during warm weather. In areas with large populations, herds may include 100 to 200 animals. During the dry season, large congregations can occur near watering sites.

Wild Goats occur in disjunct populations throughout their range. They have been extirpated from Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and their status in Iraq and Afghanistan is unknown. Over most of their distribution, viable populations rarely occur outside protected areas. Major threats to Wild Goat populations include habitat deterioration due to use by livestock, hunting, and predation by feral and domestic dogs.

Domestic Goats are sometimes referred to as Capra aegagrus hircus, but Valdez (2011) treats the Domestic Goat as a distinct species, Capra hircus. Feral Domestic Goats have a far wider distribution around the world than do true Wild Goats. The endemic goats on Crete and nearby islands, which are often referred to as C. aegagrus cretica, look similar to wild C, aegagrus, but genetic analyses have indicated that in fact they are actually, as some researchers have suspected, feral domestic goats descended from a very early introduction (Bar-Gal et al. 2002; Masseti 2009).

(Valdez 2011 and references therein)


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