Slaughter of Two Mountain Goats in Turkey: Negative Responses Grows Against American Couple

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An American couple hunted two mountain goats in the southeastern province of Adıyaman. The mountain goats in the southeast of Turkey are sacred in the Alevi faith. A majority of the local population see those animals as quite valuable. Although the local municipality fined the illegal hunting of mountain with 26,000 Turkish Lira (about $4,500), people hunted some other 19 goats down in December 2019.

Mountain Goats in the Southeastern Province of Turkey

A married couple of American tourists in the southeastern province of Adıyaman hunted two mountain goats. The animals, for the Alevi (Alawite) faith, are incredibly holy. Therefore, a great majority of the local population adhere to those animals.

A married couple of American tourists in the southeastern province of Adıyaman hunted two mountain goats.
A married couple of American tourists in the southeastern province of Adıyaman hunted two mountain goats.

Turkey’s Natural Preservation and National Parks Directorate gives out a hunting permit seasonally for mountain goats, in case they are older than eight. And the directorate had set a limit of 30 goats for the current season. The season is going to end March 31.

Having obtained their permits and practised at the Sincik Hunting Grounds, Emieblcek Harris (the American tourist) shot and killed an 11-year-old mountain goat. She killed the animal with 130-centimeter-long horns. Her husband, on the other hand, hunted down a goat with 118-centimeter-long horns. The local municipality determined a fine for the illegal hunting of mountain goats worth 26,000 Turkish Lira (about $4,500). However, several people in several periods hunted down legally some 19 goats in December 2019.

Protests Against Hunting of Sacred Mountain Goats

Local people in the eastern province of Dersim have been protesting the hunting of the sacred mountain goats for years. Meanwhile, the province is home to Munzur National Park. And moreover, experts are belive that hundreds of indigenous species live in the area.

For many years, Local people in the eastern province of Dersim have been protesting the hunting of the sacred mountain goats.
For many years, Local people in the eastern province of Dersim have been protesting the hunting of the sacred mountain goats.

In December of 2018, the Dersim Bar Association had made an official complaint to the local public prosecutor. The complaint was about a group of foreign visitors who were hunting the sacred mountain goats as well as wild boars.

A Documentary on the Mountain Goats

Journalist Sevim Kahraman and Dersim local Özkan Ulucan made a documentary in 2019 about the mountain goats. They depicted through this documentary that local elders call the mountain goat as “goats of Khidr,”. So, Khidr (Hızır in Turkish) is a saint-like Islamic figure.

A journalist and a local person released a documentary in 2019 about the mountain goats.
A journalist and a local person released a documentary in 2019 about the mountain goats.

According to the documentary, people all meet at a mutual point that those animals are sacred. They say that to eat the meat of mountain goats is illicit and is a big crime against the faith.

Mountain Goats or Bezoar Ibex

The bezoar ibex (Capra aegagrus) is also famous as the Anatolian bezoar ibexPersian ibex, or (by Anatolian locals) dağ keçisi (mountain goat). The animal is a wild goat subspecies that is native to montane forests from Turkey to Iran. The bezoar ibex is found in the mountains of Asia Minor and across the Middle East. It is also found on some Aegean islands and in Crete. People mostly believe that the goats constitute relict populations of very early domestic animals.

The archaeological evidence traces goat domestication as far back as 10,500 years before present.
The archaeological evidence traces goat domestication as far back as 10,500 years before present.

So, those came from the Mediterranean islands during the prehistoric period and now live as feral populations. The bezoar ibex, if not the sole progenitor of the modern domestic goat, is at least its main progenitor. The archaeological evidence traces goat domestication as far back as 10,500 years before present. And moreover, DNA evidence of those animals suggests 10,000 years before present.

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