GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife department here on Thursday auctioned hunting permits for 18 rare species under trophy hunting programme 2018 and 2019.
The licences for trophy hunting include four Astore Markhor, 14 blue sheep and 95 ibex.
The licence for hunting Astore Markhor was obtained at $11,000, the highest rate in the history of the region.
The rate for permit of hunting Astore Markhor has been fixed at $75,000, for blue sheep $8,000 and Rs100,000 for ibex.
The hunting season in the region begins in November and ends in April.
According to officials, the trophy hunting quota is specified on the basis of annual surveys conducted by wildlife experts. They said that hunting of only overage and oversize animals was allowed.
Eighty per cent of the amount received from the trophy hunting programme goes to local communities. The amount is spent on education, health and other development projects. The remaining 20 per cent money is deposited in the government exchequer.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to many rare species including Marco Polo sheep, ibex, markhor, urial, blue sheep, lynx, snow leopard, wild cat, brown and black bears, wolf, fox, marmote, chakor and and golden eagle.
Some of these rare species face the threat of extinction and population of many animals has been declined in the recent years.
Experts believe that many factors are responsible for decline in the population of these animals in the region.
Mehboob Rabbani, chairman of Khunjerab Villagers Organisation, said that permit for hunting of rare species also caused decline in the population of animals in the region.
He said the trophy hunting programme had been launched in the region in 1993 to control illegal hunting of rare species.
The main reason of introducing the programme was to stop illegal hunting of animals, he added.
Seventy five students were awarded degrees during the first convocation of University of Baltistan in Skardu on Thursday.
Fifteen gold-medals, silver-medals and bronze medals were also distributed among the top position holders.
Student, parents, ministers and government officials attended the convocation.
Addressing the ceremony, Vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad Naeem Khan said that the young people of the region were sensible, civilised and well-mannered.
He said that research on natural resources, languages, literature, culture of the region, glaciers and livestock were their priorities.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2018
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