Video Credit: Adam Mayo Hunter
What a time to be a sportsman here in the United States. Every day our hunting and fishing rights are under attack. From the banning of certain types of hunting, to flat out being told “NO” we can’t hunt certain animals. Endangered animals are understood as off limits and for other animals, the slow population decline means limited opportunities. Limited chance animals are typically coveted by hunters. Even outside the US, limited tags are a bucket list item and that is clearly evident by Bryan Harlan paying $110,000 for a markhor goat tag. The markhor, or screw horn goat, is a mountain dwelling goat. Its home range is in the mountains of Pakistan and neighboring middle east countries. Harlan’s tag fee is the most ever paid for a Markhor.
The goats’ rarity is its saving grace. The International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) proposed a program using the goat as a trophy hunt to help save them. 80 percent of the fees from the 12 annual tags would be returned to local villages. The $3 million dollar program was initially funded by the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. Because of the advice from the IUCN, the Pakistani government implemented the program. The program has helped the Astor markhor populations tremendously in the region. Population numbers at one point were as low as 1,200 animals and now are currently at 5,754 animals. The IUCN boasts of the program’s success.
In Pakistan, it is illegal to kill a markhor without the costly permit. Bryan Harlan’s goat has some Pakistani’s pissed off. An American coming in and killing their national animal, it’s understandable. Most are unable to comprehend that without hunters like him the goats would likely perish and they would be losing more animals than the potential 12 animals harvested each year.
Hunting has proved time and time again to be a key part in the conservation of a species. Hunters are the ones paying dues and providing the funds to keep animals around. Who knows how many animals worldwide would be extinct without the help of modern day hunters.