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      Twin Markhor goats born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

      The Rosamond Gifford Zoo welcomes two new kids into its goat family.

      Twins Sasha and Turgan are Markhor goats, born June 23 to parents Edith and Sunny.

      Sasha weighs 5.5 pounds, while her brother clocks in at 7 pounds.

      Markhor are the largest members of the goat family. As adults, they stand almost four feet tall, and can weigh up to 250 pounds.

      Sasha and Turgan are twins, and though they may look similar now, as they continue to grow, you will notice clear differences.

      Zoologists say male Markhor have longer hair on their chins, throats and shanks. Their horns are also longer, sometimes measuring as long as five feet.

      The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.

      The Rosamond Gifford Zoo says there are two theories that may explain where their name came from. According to one theory, the Markhor's name originated from the Persian words, "mar" and "khor," translating to "The Snake Eater." But the zoo says Markhor are herbivores, and don't eat snakes. A second theory suggests the Markhor's name derived from the Pushto words, "mar" and "akhur," translating to "Snake-Horn."

      There are about 2,500 Markhor living in the wild, worldwide. They live in mountainous areas, cliffs and grassy foothills.

      The species has been listed as endangered since 1994. Trophy hunting, habitat destruction, and competition among domestic livestock have significantly reduced herds.

      Markhor are part of a Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos across the world, including efforts here at the Syracuse Zoo.

      The Syracuse Zoo is one of 12 zoos in the country that have a Markhor exhibit.

      You can meet Sasha and Turgan and the rest of the herd in the Markhor Exhibit, on the Wildlife Trails at the zoo.