GILGIT: Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Department has suspended all trophy hunting licenses.
Hunting fees will be refunded to license holders.
The hunting season is from 1st November 2019 to 30th April 2020.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Department had auctioned 124 hunting permits for the current hunting season under the Trophy Hunting programme.
Hunting permits for 4 Astore Markhors were auctioned at 83,500 USD. 20 licenses of Blue Sheep were auctioned at 8,900 USD and 100 Himalayan ibex licenses were sold at PKR 8 lakh.
The money received through trophy hunting is distributed between the communities and government at 80:20 ratios. The local communities spend the money on education, health and other development areas.
In trophy hunting, only old male goats of over 36-inches horns are shot. Surveys in the Trophy Hunting Program ensure that the total number of animals has exceeded the minimum required number to maintain their breed. The trophy hunting program encourages local population to protect these rare animals.
In the 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, 38 community-controlled hunting areas are protected under the Trophy Hunting Programme. This program was introduced by IUCN’s MACP project in the 90’s.
During 2018-19, the trophy hunting programme in Gilgit-Baltistan generated PKR 8 crore 2 lakh, out of which PKR 6 crore 41 lakh was distributed among the local conservation committees.
According to the Department of Parks and Wildlife Department, the population of ibexes in Gilgit-Baltistan is over 15,000; Blue Sheep 8,000 and Astori Markhor 2,200.
Shared by Abdul Rahman Bukhari