THE national animal of Pakistan, markhor, is on the brink of extinction due to both licensed and illegal hunting. The large-sized species of wild goat found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia is slowly vanishing.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the population of this fascinating animal is less than 2,500. Nearly 1,500 of them are found in the northern hill sides of Pakistan. The species’ number is declining. But it would not stop the wildlife department of Pakistan from issuing licences every year for hunting markhor. This year a single licence was sold for $125,000. The money should be spent on the welfare of this endangered species.

Apart from this, illegal hunting is excessively taking place. Village conservation committees have been set up and tasked with taking steps to prevent the illegal hunting of markhor. But they too are slow and inefficient.

We request the authorities concerned to make the village conservation committees more effective and impose restrictions on the illegal hunting of markhor.

HAHBAZ SHAKOOR & THREE OTHERS Islamabad

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