ISLAMABAD: Obser­ving the first International Day of Markhor on Friday (May 24), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for making efforts to protect the national animal of Pakistan and other species which enrich the planet’s biodiversity.

In his message to the nation, the prime minister said: “Let us work together to protect not only Markhor but all species that enrich our planet’s biodiversity. By doing so, we secure a sustainable future for generations to come.”

He called upon the people and the international community to reaffirm their commitment to environmental conservation.

“Today, as we celebrate the first International Day of the Markhor, the national animal of Pakistan, we take pride in the majestic creature that symbolises our rich natural heritage,” he said.

First International Day of Markhor observed

Mr Sharif said the markhor, with its unique corkscrew-shaped horns, represented Pakistan’s commitment to preserving biodiversity and maintaining ecological balance.

He said the day, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on May 2 this year, ackno­wledged the nation’s efforts and successes in the conservation of wildlife.

The prime minister said that the significant increase in the markhor population over the past decade was a testament to the country’s dedication to protect its natural environment.

“Pakistan, as a committed signatory to the Con­vention on International Trade in Endan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), proudly announced its significant elevation to CITES Category-I. This elevation is a testament to the nation’s unwavering dedication to wildlife conservation and the sustainable management of our natural resources,” the prime minister said.

He said the country’s exclusive legislation, the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act, 2012, underscored its commitment to responsible trade practices and well-being of endangered species.

Markhor hunting

In March, a US national Brian Douglas Williams hunted an Astore markhor (Capra falconeri) in Doyan, with a trophy size of 40-inch horns. The hunter paid a $181,000 trophy hunting permit fee to the GB Wildlife Department (GBWD) for the hunt.

Media reports said that in October 2023, the GB Forest, Parks and Wildlife Department auctioned four licences for the hunting of the prized Astore markhor, one of which fetched a record $186,000.

The highest permit for the Astore markhor was sold for $186,000, the second for $181,000, the third for $177,000, and the fourth for $171,000.

The base rate fees for blue sheep and Himalayan ibex permits were $9,000 and $5,500, respectively.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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