Last week, Pakistani newspapers published a photo that attracted enormous public attention, according to the Washington Post. It’s a photo of a dead wild goat and the American hunter who paid $ 110,000 for this “pleasure”, smiling next to its dead body.
The newspaper reported that it took a few seconds to realize that the animal, a wild goat of endangered species (Capra falconeri), was dead. Newspapers in Pakistan state that the US hunter Brian Kinsel Harlan killed the animal during a tourist expedition to the north of Pakistan.
The whole story has led to sorrow and rage on social networks in Pakistan. But who’s behind all this? Three Americans in Pakistan killed three such goats last month. According to Pakistani officials and animal protection groups, the practice of killing helps to conserve and save rare and endangered species of animals.
This unique goat is called a “horned markhor”, the national animal of Pakistan, which can stand 4 feet tall and weigh up to 300 pounds.
Previously, goats were hunted for their meat, disappeared due to deforestation, military activities, and uncontrolled hunt for their horns. By 2011, only 2,500 goats remained alive.
Several years ago, animal welfare officials have begun an action to preserve the species. Pakistan has banned hunting but allowed a handful of foreign hunters to kill 12 bucks in the season.
According to Shafqat Hussain, an anthropology professor at Trinity College and a National Geographic emerging explorer, numbers were down for the three species of the markhor in Pakistan. The estimate for the Astor markhor was about 100 in the Gilgit-Balistan region.
He added that someone from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which issues the red list of threatened species, floated the idea of using the goats in Pakistan to start a trophy hunting program with an incentive structure for local communities to participate.
Every year, 12 permits are issued for hunts and 80 percent of the money returns to the local villages. This program was funded by the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme and implemented by the Pakistani government, with advice from the IUCN.
Initially, it was a $3 million project, but eventually scaled up to $10 million in 1997 and expanded to more valleys and other species. The population of these magnificent goats is about 1,200. In 2015, the IUCN re-classified them from the category of endangered to “near threatened” species.
That’s why the hunter Harlan believes he contributed to the preservation of the endangered species of goats. He adds that this is an example of the power of the unity of hunters and local peasants for a higher purpose, to preserve the species.