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Wildlife Dept announces urial trophy hunting schedule
Trophy hunting is held to hunt animals from rare species that have neared the end of their life
January 21, 2021
After acquiring a quota from the Ministry of Climate Change, the Punjab Wildlife Department has announced the schedule for the trophy hunting of the Punjab urial, which is a kind of mountain sheep.
Despite the official patronage, not a single foreigner has so far applied for the annual trophy hunting of the wild sheep. It is pertinent to mention that trophy hunting permits are not granted to local hunters.
This time, the trophy hunting schedule has been announced with a delay of one and a half month. On the other hand, despite the usual decision of the Punjab Wildlife Management Board, setting up a private game reserve is still off-limits.
Moreover, only one community based organisation (CBO) has been registered in the last 10 years for trophy hunting and wildlife promotion. Poaching is banned to protect and conserve wildlife and legal hunting is promoted around the world.
Trophy hunting is held to hunt animals from rare species that have neared the end of their life. Trophy hunting is also held in Pakistan to hunt several animals including the Himalayan ibex, markhor, Punjab urial and a few other animals.
This time, the wildlife department has been given a quota of 16 Punjab urials for trophy hunting. The department had invited applications from foreign hunters until January 15, however, not a single application was received after which the date has been extended until January 19. The fee for the trophy hunting of the Punjab urial has been set at $18,000.
Punjab Wildlife Department’s Honorary Game Warden Badar Munir said that trophy hunting is one of the best means of legal hunting, which is a common practice all over the world. “It is a misconception that trophy hunting is destroying the rare breed of animals. In contrast, the total number of markhors in Pakistan has risen to 3,500-4,000, from an estimated 15,000 to 2,000 in 2001. Similarly, the Punjab urial, whose numbers ranged from 400 to 500 a few years ago, has now crossed 4,000.”
Munir continued that 80% of the proceeds from trophy hunting will go to the CBOs, which are working locally for the breeding and conservation of these rare species.
It was learnt that obstacles are being created for the private sector, while the department itself is not taking any steps for the protection and survival of wildlife. In one of its previous meetings, the Punjab Wildlife Management Board had given approval for the setting up of six private game reserves in Punjab.
So far, two applications have been received from Chakwal, two from Attock and one from Okara to set up a private game reserve.
The number of the CBOs in the other provinces is also higher than Punjab. The first CBO was formed in Punjab in 2006 and now, fifteen years later, there are only five. In Gilgit-Baltistan, the number of the CBOs has reached 65.
Renowned wildlife conservator Ashiq Ahmad Khan said that the CBOs are an ideal structure for the wildlife’s survival, growth, and development. “Wildlife can be protected by providing some benefits to the local people. A portion of the money raised from trophy hunting goes to the local community. The government should set up as many CBOs as possible in all the provinces and monitor their performance.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2021.
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