Gilgit-Baltistan: IBEX Family Killed

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GILGIT (ET): Days after the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government unveiled its trophy hunting programme, police arrested three people for killing an ibex family in Hunza Valley.

“It was an unfortunate incident. A male, female and baby ibex were killed,” Wildlife Divisional Forests Officer (DFO) Aftab Mehmood said on Thursday.

On a routine visit to Hussanabad Nullah, a wildlife department team led by game-inspector Habibur Rehman spotted a suspicious vehicle. However, the hunters fled leaving the dead ibexes behind when they saw wildlife officials approaching them.

The vehicle and dead animals were seized by the authorities, who registered a case at a police station in Hunza. The police managed to catch the culprits a day later and presented them in court for further proceedings.

The meat and hides of the dead ibexes were sold off in the presence of a magistrate for Rs20,000, while the horns were taken into the wildlife department’s custody, added DFO Mehmood.

According to wildlife officials, the men could face up to two years in jail and a heavy fine.

G-B’s government had earlier announced the Trophy Hunting Programme 2012-13 for the upcoming hunting season. The fee for hunting ibexes was fixed at $2,500, 80% of which goes to the respective communities.

A total of 117 ibexes are allowed to be hunted during the season, Mehmood earlier told The Express Tribune, adding that about 446 ibexes exist in the region.

“Illegal hunting means that communities not only lose their precious wildlife, but also their share,” said Mehmood.

The Trophy Hunting Programme was launched in the early 1990s and has given the region Rs5.2 million in return. The hunting quota is created on the basis of annual surveys conducted by wildlife experts.

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