Biodiversity Conservation and Socio-Economic Benefits through Trophy Hunting in Northern Pakistan
Markhor (Capra falconeri), inhabiting the rugged, rocky slopes of Pakistan, is categorized as an endangered species placed on Appendix I of CITES. In North West Frontier Province (NWFP), four sub-species of Markhor are found. In NWFP Markhor trophy hunting program was initiated in 1983 with the help of Shikar Safari International with quota of one Markhor hunt worth US$ 5,000. Based on increase in Markhor population, The CITES increased country quota to 12 hunt permits in 2007, of which four permits were allocated to the NWFP worth US$ 54,000 per hunt permit. Of this, 80 % goes to the local communities for socio-economic uplift and conservation of Markhor and its habitat while 20% is retained by the Wildlife Department as admin fee. Purpose of Markhor trophy hunting is the conservation of biodiversity through community support by providing them with economic incentives and a sense of ownership over wildlife resources. Community-based trophy hunting program is like a double-facet package: providing sustainable benefits to the communities and sustainable conservation of biodiversity. Increase in contiguous community game reserves has provided an opportunity for the establishment of a number of conservancies for the conservation of biodiversity at large landscape level. Trophy hunting program is positively contributing to the attitudinal change towards wildlife: people being part of problem turned to be part of the solution. This program need to be further supported, strengthened, and extended to other parts of the country for achieving long-term sustainable conservation and socio-economic benefits.
Keywords: Markhor, Conservancy, Trophy Hunting, Biodiversity, Community, Game Reserve
Ayaz Mohammad Khan
Graduate Student, Wildlife Biology Program