Gilgit (Dard.Times): WF-Pakistan under its Pakistan wetlands programme-Northern Alpine Wetlands Complex delivered 22 sets of uniform to the field staff of Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Department in a ceremony held in Gilgit Conservation Information Centre, on May 10, 2012. The purpose of providing uniform to the field staff was to encourage dedicated personnel of the department who render their services to protect wildlife resources in their respective regions.
The Secretary Forest, Wildlife and Environment Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr.Khadim Hussain Saleem, who attended the ceremony as Chief Guest, applauded the initiative and remarked that the uniformed personnel in the department could deliver their duties more efficiently. He added that, in addition to sustainable resource use initiatives like trophy hunting efforts should also be channelled to build capacity of local communities to withstand the climate induced hazards and disasters.
Mr. Babar Khan Head WWF-P, Gilgit-Baltistan spoke about the longstanding partnership between GB wildlife department and WWF Pakistan for nature conservation in the region, and “provision of uniform and other necessary equipment to the department’s staff is another step towards mutual collaboration”, he added.
Mr.Muhammad Ismail Zafar Conservator Forest, Gilgit during his speech explained mutual collaboration between WWF-P and Gilgit-Baltsitan Forest Wildlife and Environment department since early 1990s and he admired the WWF-P’s interventions for conservation of protected area in the region and hoped for better future cooperation.
Mr.walayat Noor, Conservator, Wildlife and Parks, Gilgit-Baltistan also attended the ceremony and shared his views about the event. He emphasized on developing management plans for Qurumbar and Hunderab-Shandoor National Parks, in addition to taking necessary steps on implementation of the management plans of Deosai National Park. He also suggested taking some steps to add Nangaparbat area under the net of protected areas in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The event was also attended by other senior officials of GB Forest and Wildlife Department including the Deputy Secretary, DFO Wildlife and others.
“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.