3rd markhor hunt, 3rd US hunter and the highest fee

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Gilgit – On Monday there was a third markhor hunt of the season in Gilgit-Baltistan. An American hunter Bryan Kinsel Harlan hunted down a flared-horned markhor in Sassi-Haramosh Community Conservation Area. He had paid a record amount of US$110,000 as permit fee.

This is so far the highest permit fee paid by a hunter this season. He managed to take a 41 inches markhor trophy, which is considered a good-sized trophy. “It was an easy and close shot and I am pleased to take this trophy”, said Harlan.

This was also the third successful hunt in Sassi-Haramosh Valley and people are very happy to have this successful hunt, as it will not help our conservation committee to continue wildlife conservation activities in the area, but also in using community share of the permit fee for socio-economic development of the area, says Hamid Hussain, Chairman, Wildlife Conservation and Social Development Organization (WCSDO) of Sassi-Haramosh.

It is important to mention here that people of Sassi-Haramosh started their conservation program in 2010 with technical and financial assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of Pakistan. WCS has built the capacity of the community and trained Community Wildlife Guides (CWGs) for protecting and monitoring their wildlife populations.
As per government policy 80% of the permit of US$110,000 will go the people Sassi-Haramosh as community share, while 20% is retained by the department as a management fee.

It is encouraging to note that earlier people of Sassi-Haramosh used fund generated from trophy-hunting used repair and renovate their Hydro-Power station. Electricity they get in the valley a being generated with the markhor trophy funds, so markhor is paying for their electricity.

Later in the afternoon WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh and GB Parks and Wildlife Department organized a small, but memorable ceremony in the honor of Mr. Harlan. The event was attended by the staff of Parks and Wildlife, GB; WCS, community representatives, and Outfitter Pir Danish. Keeping the local tradition Mr. Hamid, Chairman, WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh presented a traditional overcoat (Chogha) and cap to the hunter. Speaking at the occasion, the hunter said “he is very happy on the successful hunt and on the way the people Sassi-Haramosh and Parks and Wildlife Department facilitated the hunt. He appreciated the efforts of the Community for managing their wildlife and other natural resources. This is certainly a model conservation area in Pakistan, said hunter. Mr. Hamid, Chairman, WCSDO Sassi-Haramosh thanked the hunter for travelling all the way from the U.S. and hunt in their conservation area. He also thanked Parks and Wildlife Department, WCS and the Outfitter, Pir Danish for supporting the people of Sassi-Haramosh in their conservation efforts.

Mr. Asifullah Khan, Secretary, Forests, Wildlife, and Environment was also happy to hear about the successful hunt. He said, this is the third successful markhor hunt of the season and it will help in promoting community-based conservation and generating interest among the local communities. He further added that 80% share communities getting from the trophy hunting, which is highest in the world, will not only help in wildlife conservation, but also local economic development of remote communities in G-B. The views also echoed by Dr. Zakir Hussain, Chief Conservator Forests and Wildlife and Mr. Mehmood Ghazanvi, Conservator Parks and Wildlife, G-B. They said that such a move would further strengthen the community-led conservation initiatives and sustainable management of wildlife resources outside the national parks and sanctuaries in G-B.

Published in The Gilgit on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019

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