Second Markhor hunted in Gilgit under trophy hunting program

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GILGIT: Another highest rated Astore Markhor has been hunted by an American citizen in Jutial conservancy near Gilgit under controversial trophy hunting program.

Markhor is Pakistan’s national animal. It is the only wild goat, among its relatives, that has adapted to the rugged and step mountains of northern Pakistan.

Dawn quoted officials of Gilgit Baltistan wildlife department as saying that American hunter Dianda Christopher Anthony had paid 105,000 US dollars to have the permission for hunting the rare species.

According to officials, the hunter fired at it from a distance of 360 meters.

This was the second hunt in less than 10 days.

On January 13, American citizen, John Amistoso, had hunted the Astore Markhor in the community-controlled Bunji area of Gilgit.

The permit for Astore Markhor had been obtained for 100,000 US dollars.

The wildlife department had auctioned hunting permits for over 100 rare species under trophy hunting programme of 2018-19.

The licences for trophy hunting included four Astore Markhors, 14 blue sheep and 95 ibex.

So far 55 ibex, 12 blue sheep and two Astore Markhors have been hunted across the region in the current season. Hunters from Denmark, Turkey, America and Spain hunted various species.

The American hunter, however, defended the trophy hunting program.

“I had the opportunity to come here [Pakistan] because of the conservation efforts,” he told SAMAA TV. “Many people talk about hunters in a negative way, but I put my money where my mouth is.” We have been very successful. “People here are wonderful and the hospitality is on the top,” he said.

He remarked that the conservation programme in an excellent thing. “I believe in the programme. It’s obviously been working for a number of years. I am just happy to be able to put back into it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the conservation program may have benefited the local communities, but netizens have called for an end to the killing of rare species.