The Gilgit Baltistan Wildlife Department has suspended all trophy hunting licenses. Hunting fees will be reimbursed to license holders. The hunting season runs from November 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020.
The Gilgit Baltistan Wildlife Department had auctioned 124 hunting permits for the current hunting season as part of the Trophy Hunting program.
Hunting permits for 4 Astore Markhors were auctioned at $ 83,500. 20 licenses for Blue Sheep were auctioned at $ 8,900 and 100 licenses for Himalayan ibex were sold at PKR 8 lakh. The money received from the trophy hunt is distributed between the communities and the government in an 80:20 ratio. Local communities spend the money on education, health and other areas of development.
Only old male goats with over 36-inch horns are shot during the trophy hunt. Trophy hunting surveys ensure that the total number of animals has exceeded the minimum number required to maintain their breed. The trophy hunting program encourages the local population to protect these rare animals.
In the 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, 38 community-controlled hunting areas are protected as part of the trophy hunting program. This program was introduced by the IUCN MACP project in the 1990s. In 2018-19, 8 crore 2 lakh PKR were generated as part of the trophy hunting program in Gilgit-Baltistan, of which 6 crore 41 lakh PKR were distributed to the local nature conservation committees.
According to the Ministry of Parks and Wildlife, more than 15,000 ibex live in Gilgit-Baltistan. Blue Sheep 8,000 and Astori Markhor 2,200.