PESHAWAR, Oct 18: The NWFP wildlife department has auctioned hunting permits for four Kashmiri markhors and three Himalayan ibex under the trophy hunting scheme for the season from Dec 15, 2007, to March 2008.

The permits were auctioned at a record high rate, including one for Toshi Game Reserve in Chitral for $81,000, showing an increase of $24,000 against the previous year’s rate of $57,000, said Chief Conservator Dr Mumtaz Malik.

Three bidders participated in the bidding held on Thursday.

A permit for markhor hunting was auctioned for the Toshi Game Reserve at $77,000, for Gairath Reserve in Chitral at $68,000 and Kaigah Reserve in Kohistan at $58,000.

Three permits of ibex hunting were auctioned at $3,100 each.

All the permits were auctioned to Karakoram Treks and Travels, the highest bidder, Dr Malik said.

The chief conservator said trophy hunting would be permitted only in community game reserves in Chitral and Kohistan districts and the department would make special security arrangements for foreign hunters on additional charges, if required.

The hunters would be briefed about the regulations when they collected their permits from the chief conservator’s office, he said.

Dr Malik told APP that under the trophy hunting scheme, communities are involved in conservation of wildlife.

The chief conservator said the revenue generated from sale of the hunting permits of protected animals was mostly spent on development of the communities.

Over the past couple of years, the revenue through trophy hunting had gone up because of increase in quota of markhor hunting for Pakistan by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (Cites), he said.

The chief conservator said four markhor hunting permits were allowed to the NWFP, five to Balochistan and three to the Northern Areas.—APP

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