The wildlife poaching problem the world isn't paying attention to
Charismatic animals like elephants and snow leopards take the conservation spotlight, but wild goats and sheep need protection from illegal hunting too. Here's why.
People around the world keep more than two billion sheep and goats for their meat, milk, and wool, or as pets. But despite the ubiquity of these domestic animals, few people may know that they have wild counterparts, and even fewer, that nearly all the world’s wild goats and sheep are facing population declines and that many are threatened with extinction. The causes are poorly understood, but a new study reveals that poaching is a major culprit.
Caprinae, the family of hoofed animals that includes wild goats and sheep, encompasses about 40 species. Oftentimes, they’re found in mountainous areas where other types of ungulates can’t survive, making them an important food source for predators such as