Markhor Stands Endangered, But International Hunters Can Kill it for $67,500
GILGIT: As the trophy hunting season progresses in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), a Filipino hunter has killed the precious Astore Markhor in Sasi valley of Gilgit.
Anariky Founandous shot the animal from a distance of 260 meters, a local resident Meraj Alam told media on Thursday.
Markhore’s hunting fee is $67,500 for international hunters in G-B where hunting season lasts till June.
“It was a wonderful experience for me,” Founandous was quoted as saying after the hunt, which took place on Monday. “Without the support from local community, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
This year the G-B government auctioned hunting permits for four markhors, 60 ibexes and eight blue sheep. Besides markhors, hunting fee for Himalayan blue sheep and ibexes have been fixed as $8,800 and $3,000, respectively.
According to Mobashir, an official at wildlife department Gilgit, trophy hunting quota is decided on the basis of annual surveys conducted by wildlife experts.
The trophy hunting programme was first launched in Bar area of Nagar valley as an effort to discourage illegal hunting of endangered wildlife.
The official said hunting is carried out under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wildlife, and is allowed only in notified areas of G-B in collaboration with the relevant communities.
“Threatened species in G-B, markhors in particular are hunted by foreigners in return for thousands of dollars,” said the official.
With each hunt, the G-B government provides 80 per cent share to the respective local communities while the rest goes to government accounts.
Markhor, the wild goat is Pakistan’s national animal and is found in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, Kashmir and its surrounding areas.
The international Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared it as an endangered animal in 1998. However, it was down listed to the category of ‘near-threatened’ in 2015 as there are official claims that the number of animals has increased due to trophy hunting.
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