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Two suspects held in G-B for illegal ibex hunt

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) police have arrested two locals for illegally shooting an ibex.

The incident took place in the Gulmit area of Hunza Valley, about 120 kilometres from Gilgit, the capital of G-B.

Suspects Amin Khan and Riaz Karim – both residents of Hunza Valley – shot the ibex on Saturday, a member of a conservation committee told The Express Tribune on Sunday. “Both the men are residents of the same valley,” said the member, who asked not to be named.

According to the police, community representatives caught wind of the hunt and subsequently informed wildlife officials, conservation committee members, and the local police about the unlicensed hunt.

After the police got in touch, the Hunza wildlife department raided a house and recovered ibex meat, horns and a telescope which could have been used to spot the wild goat in the mountains. The accused were later presented in a local court, where a magistrate imposed a fine of Rs70,000 on Khan.

The illegal hunt, which is not the first in the region, came in the middle of trophy hunting, which is a government-sponsored programme to ensure endangered populations do not decrease.

At least a dozen legal trophy hunts have taken place in G-B so far this season. Last month, American Rex Baker killed a Markhor for a hunting fee of $65,000. The fee for an Ibex fee is, around $3,100.

The trophy hunting programme began in the 1980s. It is carried out under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wildlife and is only allowed in notified areas of G-B, where hunts are held in collaboration with local communities.

Foreign hunters pay the fee to the Government of Pakistan in dollars, while Pakistanis pay in rupees. With each hunt, 80% of the hunting fee goes to the local community, while the government spends the remaining 20% on forest preservation and biodiversity.

via ET

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