American paid $110,000 to hunt Astore Markhor in Sassi-Harmosh conservation area of Gilgit-Baltistan   

GILGIT: An American hunter Bryan Kinsel Harlan successfully hunted 41 inches flared-horned markhor in Sassi-Harmosh Community Conservation Area by paying a record US$110,000 as permit fee.

“This was my third time that I am in Pakistan and I am pleased to take this trophy,” said Harlan.

This was also the third successful hunt in Sassi-Harmosh Valley and people are very happy to have this successful hunt, as it will not help the conservation committee to continue wildlife conservation activities in the area, but also in using community share of the permit fee for socio-economic development of the area, says Hamid Hussain, Chairman, Wildlife Conservation and Social Development Organization (WCSDO) of Sassi-Haramosh.

It is important to mention here that people of Sassi-Haramosh started the conservation program in 2010 with technical and financial assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of Pakistan. WCS has built the capacity of the community and trained Community Wildlife Guides (CWGs) for protecting and monitoring their wildlife populations.

As per government policy 80% of the permit of US$110,000 will go to the people of Sassi-Haramosh as community share, while 20% is retained by the department as a management fee.

It is encouraging to note that the people of Sassi-Haramosh used fund generated from trophy-hunting for the repair and renovation of a Hydro-Power station. Electricity they get in the valley is being generated with the Markhor trophy funds, so Markhor is paying for the electricity.

WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh and GB Parks and Wildlife Department organized a small, but memorable ceremony in honor of Harlan. The event was attended by the staff of Parks and Wildlife, GB; WCS, community representatives, and Outfitter Pir Danish.

Keeping the local tradition alive, the Chairman of WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh Hamid presented a traditional overcoat (Chogha) and cap to the hunter.

Speaking at the occasion, Bryan Kinsel Harlan said, “People of Pakistan welcomed me with open arms.”   I thank people of Sassi-Haramosh for their hospitality and the way they have facilitated the hunt, he added.

Harlan appreciated the efforts of the Community for managing their wildlife and other natural resources. This is a beautiful landscape and there is tremendous potential for promoting wildlife-based tourism in Pakistan, he further added.

“There is a need to project positive image of the country and highlight the tourism potential across the world,” Harlan commended by adding that “This would help in bring foreign investment in the Country”.

Hamid, the Chairman of WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh thanked the hunter for travelling all the way from the U.S. for the hunt in their conservation area. He also thanked Parks and Wildlife Department, WCS and the Outfitter, Pir Danish for supporting the people of Sassi-Haramosh in their conservation efforts.

Asifullah Khan, Secretary  Forests, Wildlife, and Environment was also happy to hear about the successful hunt. This is the third successful markhor hunt of the season and it will help in promoting community-based conservation and generating interest among the local communities, he said.

He further added that the communities get 80% share from the trophy hunting fee, which is highest in the world. This will not only help in wildlife conservation, but will also facilitate economic development of the remote communities in GB.

These views were also echoed by Dr. Zakir Hussain, Chief Conservator Forests and Wildlife and Mehmood Ghazanvi, Conservator Parks and Wildlife, GB. They said that such a move would further strengthen the community-led conservation initiatives and sustainable management of wildlife resources outside the national parks and sanctuaries in GB.

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