Mountain Monarchs

WCS has been a global leader in the conservation of Asia's magnificent wild mountain sheep and goats since WCS Senior Scientist Dr. George Schaller described them as "Mountain Monarchs" in the book about his seminal research work from the 1970s. The Mountain Monarchs are endemic to – and thus help define – the huge mountain ranges of Asia, including the Himalayas, Karakorams, Hindu Kush, Pamirs, Tien Shans, and Altais.

Key species include:


The Mountain Monarchs of Asia's great peaks face a number of threats. Hunting for meat and sport (including poorly managed trophy hunting programs) are a serious threat. For migratory argali, border fences are a significant barrier to movement. Livestock disturbance, competition, and even disease transmission are increasingly an issue for all of these species.

Photo Credit: ©Graham Jones

Why WCS?

WCS continues to lead the way in conservation of these spectacular large mammals in many countries across the region.

Photo Credit: ©WCS Afghanistan

70 percent

WCS community conservation work in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan has seen the previously rapidly declining markhor population increase by 70% in a little more than a decade. This helped lead to the markhor’s down-listing by IUCN in 2014 from Endangered all the way to Near Threatened.

6 feet in length

The Marco Polo sheep is the largest subspecies of the argali, which is the largest wild sheep in the world. A large male may have curling horns that reach six feet just from tip to tip. WCS works on Marco Polo sheep conservation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Related Regions

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