Markhor goats look as if they have popped out from a fairy tale. It has mostly to do with their stunning curled horns, which can grow up to 5 feet tall.
It’s a fascinating sight to behold, but for trophy hunters, it’s just one reason to kill them mercilessly.
Only last week, an American hunter named John Amistoso went as far as to pay $100,000 to travel to remote mountains of Pakistan to kill this iconic animal. What makes it worse is that this exotic animal is classified as threatened by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), along with being the national animal of Pakistan.
According to IUCN, there are only less than 6,000 of these rare goats left in the wild.
“[This goat was] auctioned for trophy hunting by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan under its community-based conservation program,” Babar Khan, director of wildlife for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan, which worked with the Pakistani government to help plan the hunt under its conservation initiatives, told The Dodo. “This is an incentivised conservation approach to trade off poaching threats to wildlife in remote underprivileged mountain communities of Pakistan.”
However, the hunting program that was founded by WWF and the Gilgit-Baltistan government back in 1993 aims to support anti-poaching units. In truth, it has led to a “significant increase” in markhor populations.
Other welfare groups claim that they’re sceptical of the conservation value this hunt will offer and the ethics too. The funds raised through these hunts actually ending up in the hands of the community is rare. Critics claim that it fosters a false belief that killing animals will help grow populations.
Some people have even compared this killing to that of Cecil the lion where an American trophy hunter went to similar lengths. He too paid an astonishing $54,000 to kill a protected lion and sparked mass outrage among animal lovers. Here too, only less than 2 per cent of trophy hunt revenue went into the local economy.
Senior specialist for wildlife programs and policy for Humane Society International (HSI), Iris Ho said that this markhor sadly paid the ultimate price for the hunter’s hobby- which likely won’t benefit the overall species.
“The hefty price tag — $100,000 — for this hunt says it all,” Ho told The Dodo. “Trophy hunting is not conservation it is pay-to-slay killing for fun. It is an expensive hobby for the elite one percenters to kill rare and iconic animals for bragging rights.”
Among many exotic animals that die in thousands each year for trophy hunts, Markhor is just one of them. Ho and HSI, urge that instead of supporting trophy hunts like this, it’s more important to focus on lifesaving conservation efforts that actually protect wildlife.
“The United States is the world’s largest importer of hunting trophies, with American trophy hunters leaving a trail of carcasses wherever they go,” Ho said. “The grotesque enterprise of trophy hunting at the expense of magnificent wild animals has no place in a modern society.”
SHARE this post with everyone you know!