The “Ibex Stamps” are the fourth in the series on the conservation of wildlife, being issued by the Pakistan Post Office. These stamps, have been planned for public motivation with a view to focus attention on the need to protect wildlife.
The Capra Ibex Sibirica inhabits the Western Himalayas on both sides of the main Himalayan range, and the mountain ranges which lie beyond Baltistan, Chitral, Hunza and Azad Kashmir. The Sind Ibex (Capra hircus blythi) which is known by the name of Sarah in Sind and Pashin in Baluchistan, is found in Kirthar National Park and in Baluchistan south of Quetta Division. It is a handsome bearded goat. The male is brownish grey in colour in winter and short haired yellowish or rufous brown in summer. The under-parts are whitish. Old males are light coloured. The horns of the male are long and scimitar like. They sweep back in a graceful curve. Horns of females are ribbed, much smaller, erect and curving slightly backward. A full grown male is about 37 inches high at the shoulder. The length is about 6—6 1/2 feet including tail which is small. Good horns measure 40 inches round the curve. Highly valued by sportsman, the biggest recorded horn size is 52.5 inches with a girth of 7 inches.
DISTRIBUTION: The genus Capra of the family of Ibex is rather widely distributed on the hills and mountains ranging from Alps, Caucasus down to Baluchistan and Kohistan of Sind. Sind Ibex is, however, distinctive from its closest neighbour, the Persian Ibex.
HABITS : The Ibex live in herds. ‘Like all goats they are active, agile and sure foot-ed. They get to rest on some commanding ridge from where the flock can obtain a view of surrounding slopes. Their food consists mainly of grasses (Censhrus, Dichanthium) and browsing of Acacia and Capparis. Sind Ibex can survive on very little water, under extremely arid condi-tions. It has been known to quench its thirst by licking the dew and by consump-tion of succulent xerophullous vegetation!. Although so hardy, good food and good rain have a marked influence on their breeding and in years of drought the breed-ing rate is rather low.
Ibex are fully grown at the age of 3; mating starts in September/October and the breeding time is February, gestation period being a little over S months. Generally a female gives birth to one young but sometime twins are also born.
The species is of special interest as being the chief ancestral stock from which the various breeds of domestic goats are derived.
STATUS: Before 1970, the species was much persecuted by the shikaree and its existence became endangered. Due to indiscreet shooting and dislocation of their natural habitat, their number registered a sharp decline. The present Government took immediate notice of its declining status and declared this species as protected. Consequently the number of Ibex in the northern areas has increased to about 4500. In Sind Kirthar Hills Range has been declared as National Park to provide complete protection to the Ibex besides affording an opportunity to the tourists to see this animal in its natural habitat. Now with the protection, conservation and im-provement of its habitat the animals have multiplied from a few hundred in 1970 to over 1000 in Kirthar National Park which is increasingly gaining importance as ~ fine place for out-door recreation.
Apart from Government action, the cooperation from the public is strongly needed for the protection of this rare and threatened species.