Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side

Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side
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The Village Conservation Committee (VCC) and Wildlife Department have successfully increased the number of the endangered specie from a few hundred to over 4,000 in the last three decades. (Photo courtesy: Shahzada Hasnat ud Din)
Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side
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Markhor (screw-horn goat), the national animal of Pakistan, lives at an altitude of over 3,500 ft in Chitral and Hunza valleys -- one of the highest hunting grounds. (Photo courtesy: Shahzada Hasnat ud Din)
Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side
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Only oversize and overage wild Markhors can be hunted and so the licensed hunters are accompanied by experienced watchers. (Photo courtesy: Shahzada Hasnat ud Din)
Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side
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Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Wildlife Department issues four hunting licenses. For 2018-19 three foreigners have accomplished their hunting targets. (Photo courtesy: Shahzada Hasnat ud Din)
Updated 23 January 2019

Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side

Markhor trophy hunting, conservation efforts go side by side
  • Endangered species’ population has gone up from a few hundred to more than 4,000
  • The rate for each hunting license varies from $80,000 to $120,000

PESHAWAR: Commending the government’s move to protect Pakistan’s national animal, the Markhor, conservationists said that the initiative has finally paid off, resulting in a considerable increase in the endangered species’ population.
Markhor (or screw-horn goat) hunting is a legalized sport in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. However, by making it expensive to procure a hunting license, authorities have been successful in ensuring that the number of Markhors has risen to more than 4,000 in the last three decades.
“Markhor numbers have jumped from few hundreds to more than 4,000 in last three decades,” Safdar Shah, the chief conservator of KP’s wildlife department, told Arab News.
He added that strict surveillance on part of the Village Conservation Community (VCC) and a ban on hunting without official permits have been the main reasons for an increase in the population of the species.
“The locals are now protecting it, as 80 percent of trophy hunting’s revenue goes to the local community,” Shah said.
Shah added that the provincial government, along with local community members, have taken up the responsibility of owning and protecting the animal from illegal hunters.
The Markhor inhabits the northern areas of Chitral, Hunza, and a few other mountainous regions where it lives at an altitude of 3,500 to 12,000 feet above sea level.
Trophy hunting of the animal, which began in 1998-99, has seen officials issue 69 licenses till date and amass a revenue of $4.3 million in the process, wildlife department officials told Arab News.