A US hunter paid $110,000 to hunt Pakistan’s national animal in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Bryan Kinsel Harlan hunted the Astore markhor in Sassi-Haramosh on Monday. He is the highest fee payer for the hunt. The government auctioned four permits to hunt markhors last year, of which three people have already hunted the screw horn goat.
Local chairman Hamid Hussain said that the money earned from the hunt is spent on development of the area.
“It is an honour and privilege to be back in Pakistan,” said Harlan. “This is the third time I am in Pakistan. I have hunted almost all animals here. I saved the markhors for the last,” he said.
Harlan said that this is his first time hunting Astore markhor. “It was quite an adventure.” People in Pakistan have welcomed me with open arms. “The hospitality and the generousity [of the people] is over the top,” the hunter added.
Markhor is protected by the local and international laws like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It can be found in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Kalash Valley, Hunza among other Northern parts of Pakistan.
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 license is issued after a proper auction by Peshawar’s wildlife department. The highest bidder is then given a permit to hunt one markhor.
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.