By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: At least five people were sentenced on Tuesday for killing two ibexes in separate incidents in Gilgit-Baltistan. In the first case, a magistrate of the Gilgit wildlife department sent two people to jail for six months each for illegally hunting an ibex in Bar Valley of Nagar district.
The men, identified as Janan and Hasnain, were also fined Rs50,000 each for the crime under wildlife laws. The suspects had already been sent to prison last week by the magistrate temporarily for lack of evidence. However, as fresh evidence surfaced, the two were jailed for six months besides the fine.
“The sentence came after the suspects confessed and evidence was produced before the magistrate,” Hunza Range Forest Officer Shabbir Baig told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
He said besides the spent bullet shells, the head and horns of the dead animal were seized from the possession of the men.
The second sentence was handed down to three men who killed an ibex in Ghizer Valley recently. Besides the six month imprisonment, Jahangir, Maula Baig and Mashoon Baig were fined Rs50,000 each.
The men hunted the ibex in Ishkoman last month and were caught red-handed by wildlife guards and community members on surveillance.“The three have been jailed for six months,” Gilgit Forest Officer Ijlal Ahmad said. He added the sentence would discourage illegal hunting in the region.
Illegal hunting and consequent sentence to the perpetrators has come in the midst of trophy hunting.
This is a government sponsored programme which aims to protect endangered animals from being hunted illegally.
In November 2015, the provincial government sold permits to hunt four markhors, 60 ibexes and eight blue sheep in the region. The licence fee for markhors, Himalayan blue sheep and ibexes was set at $67,500, $8,800 and $3,000 respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2016.