Gilgit-Baltistan:Hunting with a Cause

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Hunza (ET):An American national in northern Pakistan, Jea-Link, went on trophy hunting and returned with one of the world’s most precious wild animals, the ibex.

“He made both the hunts in the Khunjerab National Park,” Ghulam Mohammad, a senior forest department official told The Express Tribune.

Jea–Link, who paid about $6,000 to the government in hunting fees, attained 40 and 44 inches trophies respectively, said Sifat, an active conservationist of Gojal Valley.

The hunter made two attempts on two consecutive days and consequently bagged two trophies, he added.

The trophy hunting fee for ibex has been fixed at $3000 for international hunters, and Rs180,000 for locals.

Mohammad added that the government was planning more hunts this season that will last till mid March.

Fee used for development

The hunter was welcomed by the locals who also assisted him with the hunting. Fee from trophy hunting enables locals to initiate development projects in their community.

“As per the law, 80% of the hunting fee is given to the communities where hunting takes place,” said Asif Khan, an outfitter who has facilitated dozens of foreign hunters’ visits to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

He added that he was planning to bring hunters to other parts of G-B as well.

G-B’s trophy hunting programme was initiated in the 1980s. In Gojal, the ibex population has increased over the past few years, and the specie is beyond the “danger limit,” largely due to efforts by international non-governmental organisations and local communities.

Wildlife experts say the rarer a specie is, the higher the fee for hunting it. The markhor, which is near extinction outside Pakistan, is the rarest of all.

The blue sheep carries a hunting fee of $12,000 while permit for a markhor is valued at $55,000.

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