By Sajjad Hussain
Islamabad: An American has hunted Pakistan's national animal and rare wildlife species markhor after paying a record USD 110,000 permit fee during a trophy hunting season in the country's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Markhor, a distinctive species of wild goat identified by its long hair and spiralled horns, is a protected species in Pakistan unless permitted by the government to kill it under trophy hunting programmes.
US national Bryan Kinsel Harlan hunted the highest-priced, flared-horned animal Monday from the Sassi-Harmosh community conservation area in Sassi village of Gilgit, Dawn news reported.
According to the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) wildlife department, Harlan paid a whopping USD 110,000 for hunting the rare wildlife species in the region under a conservation programme.
This is the highest permit fee ever paid in the country.
The foreign hunter managed to hunt the 41-inch markhor trophy, which is considered a good-sized trophy, the report said.
"It was an easy and close shot and I am pleased to take this trophy," Harlan said.
On January 21, another US citizen Dianda Christopher Anthony hunted the highest-rated Astore markhor after paying USD 105,000, days after fellow countryman John Amistoso hunted the Astore Markhor in the community-controlled Bunji area of Gilgit, paying USD 100,000 permit fee.
So far, about 50 wildlife animals have been hunted by foreigners and national hunters in the region under trophy hunting season 2018-19.
The trophy hunting programme has been successful in increasing the number of markhor as well as bringing prosperity to the region, according to the officials.
Authorities hand over 80 per cent of the permit money to the respective local communities, while the remaining goes to the government exchequer.
The local people now work to protect the animal instead of killing, leading to a drastic decrease in its numbers. (PTI)