Our Animals Appeal to the Hunter
Thursday, 16 November 2006
Mongolia has about 60 registered hunting tour operators but only about ten of these do good business. They have qualified people to accompany and help visitors, who may be from hunters’ organizations abroad or private individuals. They also have hunting groups in aimags (provinces). I asked Sh. Nergui of New Tourist Tours, the biggest such company in Mongolia about their work.
How do you arrange hunting for tourists?
It is a very specialized form of tourism, and we receive enquiries from various places in the USA and Europe. We make an elaborate agreement with intending hunters. Our clients are offered a complete hunting itinerary with 12-14 hunting days in the country.
The actual duration depends on what the visitor wants to hunt.
How much does a hunting permit cost?
The fee is fixed by the Ministry and varies from animal to animal. For example, Mongolia has three kinds of wild goat which can be hunted, and only males. The fee for one Altai ibex or one Khangai ibex is US$18,000, and that for one Gobi ibex, actually a subspecies of the Altai ibex, is US$10,000. A black-tailed gazelle is US$500.
Where do the hunting fees go?
To the State budget. The state earns about US$ 500-600,000 a year from these, of which 10-20 percent go to local budgets.
When is the season for hunting?
Usually from July to January. There is an alternative program with two additional hunting days.
Why are foreigners interested in Mongolian animals?
There are animals which are found nowhere else or are easier to locate here. For example some varieties of our mountain sheep are found only here and they are very big animals which appeals to a hunter.
How do you work for the protection of endangered species and of the environment?
Canadians and Americans who had come to Mongolia collected money among themselves and had a bronze statue made of an Argali, the male wild sheep. We arranged to gift this statue to the Ulaanbaatar City administration on September 16, 2005. You can see it near Government House.
We have also been working on two conservation projects for two years. We spend about Tg5 million per year on them.
The first is for protecting ibex and runs in Bayan-Onjuul soum of Dundgobi aimag. We have three people we call “protector of the environment” there. They have motor cycles and their duties are to be constantly on the move to protect the animals from poachers, to keep track of the number of the animals, and to see that the animals get salt for their needs.
We are working jointly with the local community following their suggestions in many things.
The second project, which is same as the first, runs in Bulgan soum of Bayan-Olgii aimag.
Three years ago, we established a fund to work for the protection of the Gobi bear, now an endangered species. A big international project working there left in September and now only we are left.
Quotas Fixed after Survey
According to the Ministry of Road and Transport and Tourism, over 200,000 foreign visitors have visited Mongolia in the last five years. Quite a few of them come for hunting. M.BAYARMAA talks to B. Dorjgotov, senior specialist at the Environment Ministry, about hunting quotas and the system observed.
How are the year’s hunting quotas fixed?
The number of animals allowed to be hunted is fixed on the basis of proposals submitted to the government by the Environment Ministry, which studies the state of the country’s animal resources following research and surveys by its own staff and additional scientific organizations. The central government then issues the quota numbers to which we stick.
How many hunting permits were issued this year?
I shall give you the numbers. Male wild sheep – 80; male mountain goat – 290; goitred black-tailed gazelle – 60; brown gazelle – 80; white gazelle – 150; wolf – 250; falcons – 300.
As you know, individuals can ask for and receive permits, and they can also travel to hunting areas on their own, but most prefer to go with tour operators so we issue permits for a number of animals or birds to such companies, which are free to divide that number among their customers.
Which companies are these?
There over 60 such enterprises registered with us as arranging hunting activities, and all are to free to apply to us. We issue permits after considering many things.
This information has me confused. If the government of Mongolia is charging $18,000 and $10,000US for Altai/Hangai and Gobi ibex tags, how is it that one can get a Mongolian ibex hunt with airfare, etc. from the US for around $8000?
Or is it a 'misclassification'? Instead of ibex does the person mean argali?
This is only a guess on my part, but it was probably written by someone that doesn't know a sheep from a goat (or ibex in this case).
Note the part about the number of permits. The author refers there to sheep and goats and not ibex. I'd bet that if you throw some language issues in, along with a lack of knowledge, your assumption would be correct (that it's probably meant to say Argali licenses).
Additional support for your assumption is based upon the article stating there are three kinds of wild goat which can be hunted there. As we know, there are three subspecies of Argali which may be hunted there, but only two subspecies of ibex.
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