Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s departments of Climate Change, Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department on Monday auctioned four liscences for the hunting of Kashmir Markhor in Chitral and Kohistan districts with the highest ever bid recorded at $212,000. The bids for the second, third and fourth were $185,000, $135,900 and $135,000 respectively.
A week ago, on October 26, the bid for hunting the prized Astore Markhor was conducted in Gilgit Baltistanunder GB Forest, Park and Wildlife Department, which fetched a record $186,000. This was followed by $181,000 for second, $177,000 for the third and $171,000 for the fourth.
The national animal of Pakistan, Markhor, found in the Northern Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan, is a species at near risk of extinction. Trophy hunting programs are conducted to help the local communities preserve the species and it’s habitat.
80 per cent of the proceeds go to the development of local communities, their education and healthcare while the remaining is deposited into government’s treasury.
However, Wildlife and Climate experts are extremely critical of these trophies for they believe that this is worsening the already dreadful condition of rare species. Even though the Hunting Guidelines specify that only old Markhors are to be hunted to make room for younger ones to procreate, violations of these rules are often observed in the form of killing of young species and the use of inappropriate weaponry.