GILGIT, Dec 8: The forest department will issue 18 licences of trophy hunting of precious animals in the reserved game sanctuaries through a proper bidding process, which would be held soon.

Senior forest officials said some 18 licences would be issued to the successful bidders.

Four licences would be given for hunting Astor markhor at 40,000 US dollars each. Similarly, eight licences of blue sheep would be up for sale at 6,250 US dollars each, said the officials.

They said six licences of hunting ibex would be offered at 6,250 US dollars each, adding Pakistanis would have to pay Rs100,000 for a licence.

The officials said there would be open auction for the licences and that the initial rates could go up during the bidding.

The officials said the bidding process would be completed by December 20, and the licenses would be issued shortly afterwards.