Covid pandemic affects Trophy Hunting Scheme
PESHAWAR: The prevailing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has affected the Trophy Hunting Scheme aimed at conserving Markhor and Ibexes in Chitral and Kohistan districts. Due to corona virus infection, the Wildlife Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has sold permits for hunting of four Markhors and ten ibexes for the current season starting from December 2020 to April 2021 at a reduced rate of US Dollar 85000 per one. In 2019, the Wildlife Department had sold the hunting permit at a record rate of US dollar 150,000. Whereas this year, the department had to sell the permit at a reduced bid of 85,000, showing a reduction of 65,000 dollars per permit. The highest bid of US dollar 85,000 was sold to an outfitter for hunting of Markhor in Tooshi Shah Shah Game Reserve, reveals the documents obtained from Wildlife Department. While second permit for Tooshi Shah Shah II Game Reserve was auctioned at US dollar 82,000. For Gehirat Game Reserve the hunting permit sold at US dollar 65,000 and for Kaigah (Kohistan) Game Reserve, the permit was sold for US dollar 64,000. Permit for hunting of ten ibexes is auctioned at price of US dollar 3000 each, adds the documents. “Reduction in value of hunting permits is because of prevailing circumstances causing uncertainty about arrival of foreign hunters for hunting of the wild goat,” comments Chief Conservator Wildlife Department, Dr. Mohsin Farooq. Talking to APP, Dr. Mohsin said all the permits were auctioned to outfitters who were also confused about arrival of foreign hunters due to expected lockdown in case of severity in coronavirus infection in the country. He said this year the Wildlife Department issued auction of permits twice because in the earlier bidding, the highest bid was received at rate of US dollar 75,000 which was rejected because of being almost half of last year’s price of the permit. In the second bidding held on November 24, 2020, the value of bid increased to 85,000 dollar and was accepted by committee comprising of officials from Secretary Environment office, Forest Department and Wildlife Department. Dr. Mohsin said he tried to protect the interest of communities involved in protection of Markhor and Ibexes. Corona pandemic, he continued, has affected all segments of society who are suffering due to lockdown and this reality should be realized by community members. The communities receive 80 percent of the amount generated through sale of permits as an incentive for protection of animal and allowing thousands of Markhors and Ibexes to graze on their lands. He also expressed the fear that if in case foreign hunters did not arrive, this year hunting will not take place as outfitters cannot sell these permits on local hunters. It merits an insertion here that Trophy Hunting Scheme was introduced by Wildlife department for the preservation of Markhor. Under the scheme, communities are involved in conservation of wildlife and the revenue generated from sale of hunting permits of protected animals were mostly spent on development of respective communities. Started in 1990 when the population of Markhor was estimated at around 960, the Trophy Hunting scheme helped to increase it to 5500. - APP m+x1Y4LDHD7t0//2Q==