Suspect involved in illegal hunting of markhor presented before court in Chitral

Published January 7, 2019
Two hunters illegally hounded a 10-year-old markhor last week in Chitral and escaped after firing at the animal. — Mohammad Niaz/File
Two hunters illegally hounded a 10-year-old markhor last week in Chitral and escaped after firing at the animal. — Mohammad Niaz/File

A suspect who participated in the illegal hunting of a markhor, Pakistan's national animal, in Chitral was presented before the court of the assistant commissioner of Chitral on Monday following his arrest.

Aslam Baig was arrested from his house on Sunday night and a case was registered against him under the Wildlife and Biodiversity Act, 2015.

On December 30, two hunters had illegally hounded a 10-year-old markhor and escaped after firing at the animal.

Later, the carcass of the animal was brought to the hospital for post-mortem examination which revealed that the male markhor died due to gunshot wounds.

Markhor is protected by local and international laws such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

In a Feb 2018 brief to a parliamentary committee, the Ministry of Climate Change said that the trophy hunting of markhor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Azad Kashmir was a success story in Pakistan, as local communities conserve the animal and international hunters pay large sums for obtaining shooting licences.

Up to 80 per cent of the money generated from issuing markhor hunting permits is shared with the local community, which works to prevent illegal hunting of the animal.

The Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Department in Oct 2018 auctioned hunting permits for 18 rare species under the trophy hunting programme 2018 and 2019. The licences for trophy hunting included four Astore markhor, 14 blue sheep and 95 ibex.

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