US hunter Christopher Anthony, who paid Rs14 million to hunt a markhor in Chitral, thinks animals won’t survive unless someone puts a price on them.
The hunter, who belongs to Nevada, paid a hefty sum to hunt an Astor markhor or flare-horned markhor. The markhor, also known as the screw horn goat, is Pakistan’s national animal. The wild goat is an endangered species. Markhor is protected by the local and international laws like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
“I had the opportunity to come here [Pakistan] because of the conservation efforts,” he said while speaking to SAMAA TV. “Many people talk about hunters in a negative way, but I put my money where my mouth is.” We have been very successful. “People here are wonderful and the hospitality is on the top,” he said.
He remarked that the conservation programme in an excellent thing. “I believe in the programme. It’s obviously been working for a number of years. I am just happy to be able to put back into it,” he added.
Anthony and Stacy Anderson from New Zealand came to Pakistan to hunt markhor. Anderson was unable to hunt the markhor despite firing thrice.
Although hunting the markhor is illegal in Pakistan, the government has introduced a scheme which makes the hunt legal. The scheme is known as trophy hunting.
A hunting trophy licence is issued after a proper auction by Peshawar’s wildlife department. The highest bidder is then given a permit to hunt one markhor.
According to the wildlife department spokesperson, the life of a markhor is between 10 and 12 years.
Annually, four hunting trophy licenses are issued for Markhor hunting and 80% of the money collected is distributed among the local community, whereas 20% is kept by the wildlife department.