GILGIT: An American citizen has hunted the highest-rated Astore markhor, a rare species in Gilgit-Baltistan, after paying $61,500 as a licence fee during the current hunting trophy season.
Edward Joseph Hudson hunted the markhor near the Dashkin-Mushkin-Tarbuling (DMT) conservation area in Astore, according to the Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife department.
The horns of the hunted animal were measured at 41 inches.
For the trophy hunting programme of 2020-21, the Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife, environment and forest department has auctioned only four permits for Astore markhor, 18 for blue sheep and 150 for Himalayan ibexes.
The trophy hunting programme starts in November and ends in April. Foreign, national and local hunters hunt the trophies in conservation areas of Gilgit-Baltistan after getting licences.
The American hunter, Mr Hudson, paid $61,500 to obtain the licence of hunting the highest-rated Astore markhor.
Last month, another American, Joseph Bradford, hunted a Kashmir markhor with 40-inch horns in Chitral’s Toshi Shasha conservation area with a bow, making a record as it was the first trophy hunting performed with a bow. He had paid around Rs13.12 million for the permit.
According to sources, local community receives 80 per cent of the income obtained from the permit fee as its share which is spent on their collective development and self-employment of jobless youth through the village conservation committees.
The trophy hunting programme began in the 1980s. It is carried out under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wildlife and is allowed only in the notified areas of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Any person found involved in illegal hunting is caught and penalised.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021