Two foreigners in Chitral to hunt Markhor, Ibex

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CHITRAL: Two hunters from USA and Switzerland have arrived in Pakistan through a helicopter for hunting of Markhor and Ibex in the limits of Toshi Village Conservation Committee (VCC), District Chitral.

According to Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Wildlife Muhammad Hussain, “The foreigner hunters have a proper hunting trophy as well as a shooting license,” adding that “they have been searching for suitable prey for the last three days”.

Christopher from USA has paid an amount of Rs12,868,040 to hunt Markhor – Pakistan’s national animal – and Rs10,000 for the shooting license; while Switzerland’s Stacky has paid Rs1,45,000 to hunt an Ibex and Rs10,000 for the shooting license.

The DFO further said that “the hunting trophy license is issued after proper auction at an international level by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Switzerland”.

Annually, four hunting trophy licenses are issued for Markhor hunting and 80 per cent of the total cost is distributed among the local community, whereas 20 per cent is deposited in the public exchequer.

Although, the Chitral Goal National Park does not allow legal hunting, but the social and political circles have demanded that the government allows the hunting trophy license holders to do so in buffer areas of the park.

The wildlife officer also said that “if the government allows legal hunting in buffer areas in the park of aged, ailing and weak Markhors, it will be best both for public and government”.

Markhor is protected by the local and international laws like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.