Hunting for marbles in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region has become a lucrative business for locals. The Spanish citizen became the third foreign hunter of the season to hunt marble, the national animal of Pakistan, on the outskirts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Marhor, also known for its beautiful twisted horns, is a large species of capri, native to Central Asia, the Karakorum and the Himalayas. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as being under threat since 2015.
“John March was hunting for Marhor, whose horns were 40 inches,” said Tariq Shah, a spokesman for the Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Division. “This was the third Marhor hunt made by an international hunter this season,” he added.
The Spanish hunter paid Pakistani officials a fee of $ 83.00 for purchasing a hunting permit from an auction by the Gilgit-Baltistan government last year. Although the hunt for Marhor is illegal in Pakistan, Islamabad has launched a scheme known as trophy hunting that makes hunting legal for the one who offers the highest bet.
Marble hunting in Pakistan
Marhor was a popular hunting animal during British rule, and this practice continued after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. By the 1990s, the marhor had been brought to the border, and the Pakistani government proposed a total ban on hunting.
Since then, the Marhor population has increased, and there are about 4,000 Marhors in the country. As the population gradually increased, the ban was gradually replaced by controlled trophy hunting, a program often referred to as a huge victory in biodiversity conservation.
Under the trophy hunting program, 80% of the license fee remains for the rest. The amount varies depending on the bidding process. Given that only four marchers are allowed to hunt each season from October to April, the approximate cost of licenses ranges from $ 80 to $ 120,000. Until now, no Pakistani has dared to purchase this license to hunt for a marble.
In trophy hunting only old goats are shot. The age of the marble can be determined by its horns, gait and body, ”experts say. In addition, the program introduced a total ban on unlicensed homicides. The maximum penalty for illegal hunting of marbles is 3 years in prison.
A cry because of the hunt for Marhor in Pakistan
The recent story of an American hunter who paid $ 110,000 for hunting marbles in Pakistan has caused outrage on social media: network users have proposed a legal ban on hunting the species or invited foreign tourists to photograph goats instead of hunting them.
Animal rights organizations People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said on Twitter that they criticized Harlan for his hunting adventures. “Goats are fragile faces, NOT TROPHIES,” PETA writes.
VIOLATION: A man paid $ 110,000 so he could kill a rare mountain goat, just for that?
Goats are fragile individuals, NOT TROPHIES. RETVIT if you know that hunting is for monsters.https://t.co/Y7LNOVW8CB
– PETA (@peta) February 12, 2019
Pakistan and the US have a serious lack of trust in each other. This is not a very good relationship. Then American hunters come and shoot the Pakistani national animal. And some say: if Marhor is threatened with extinction, then why are they being shot?
Many Pakistanis living in big cities have been furious over the country’s national animal hunt. But an expert in an interview with the EurAsian Times said that the marble hunt in Pakistan has brought huge benefits to both the species and the local population. Now the locals appreciate the marble, protect it, because the goat has brought great economic benefits to the region.