Ceremony held to distribute cheques among communities as share from Markhor Trophy hunting

PESHAWAR: Wildlife Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tuesday organized cheques distribution ceremony of the share of Markhor Trophy Hunting of the concerned community representative of Chitral and Kohistan to acknowledge their contribution in conservation of Markhor and Himalayan Ibex.

Minister for Forests, Environment and Wildlife Department, Ishtiaq Urmar was the chief guest of the ceremony.

Special Secretary Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department , Matiullah Khan and Dr.Mohsin Farooque, Chief Conservator Wildlife, also participated in the event.

Cheques of worth Rs 91.269 million were distributed among representatives of 26 communities of Chitral and Kohistan as their share from Markhor Trophy Hunt for the year 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Chief Conservator Wildlife welcomed the participants and gave a brief presentation about wildlife conservation initiatives in the province.

He apprised the participants about the Trophy Hunting Programme which started in 1998. Total 78 Trophy Hunts of Markhor have been conducted successfully by the outfitters.

During 2019-20 one Markhor permit was sold on 150, 000 US dollar in the interest of the local communities which was the highest record rate in the world.

Out of total bid amount of trophy hunts 80% share goes to the communities where the hunt has been conducted while 20% is retained as government share. The local communities spend the amount through set procedure for their socio-economic development of the area.

Special Secretary Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department, Matiullah Khan shared his views about the role, conservation and importance of Wildlife in creation of balance ecosystem and development initiatives in the Forestry, Environment and Wildlife sectors.

Towards the end, the Minister for Forests, Environment and Wildlife Department, Ishtiaq Urmar addressed the participants and expressed that Wildlife Department, despite law and order situations, not only continued the Trophy Hunting Programme but also generated more revenue from sale of permits as compared to the previous years.

He was enthusiastic about the department successes at different levels and acknowledged that he will strive his best to increase the number of permits of trophy hunts and showed satisfaction over the number of Markhor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that once was in hundreds however, due to support of communities and struggle of Wildlife Department it has increased to more than 6000.

Community members praised the efforts and devotion of wildlife department and specifically demanded that eco-tourism planning and practices in Chitral may be considered which is still devoid of eco-tourism inspite of the presence of country national animal and bird.

They also raised point that projects like Billion Tree Tsunami Project has no involvements of communities that is not fair.

Communities must be involved in umbrella projects like trophy hunting programme. Community representative from Chitral Sikandar-ul- Mulk pointed out to the chief guest that natural resources e.g. Forests can’t be protected till provision of alternate energy resources like electrical stoves, hydal powers schemes and gas stoves at nominal rates to the local communities.