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2 year moratorium on Marco Polo hunting in Tajikistan
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From: http://www.ens-newswire.com/en...09/2009-03-31-01.asp

Protection for Giant Wild Sheep Angers Tajik Hunters

By Shahoda Saipnazarova

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, March 31, 2009 (ENS) - A two-year moratorium on hunting the arkhar, or argali, an increasingly rare species of giant wild sheep found in the mountains of Tajikistan, has angered hunters in the remote Tajik region of Badakhshan.

Imposed January 1 by the Tajik government, the ban will result in the killing of more, not fewer, arkhar, say critics, including a hunter in Murghab who did not want to be named.

"Look at South Africa, it flourishes because of hunting tourism," he said. "They don't have a ban, and [hunting] companies breed animals as well as conserving them, so they have a value as trophies."

Also called Marco Polo sheep, Ovis ammon polii, the species takes this name from Venetian explorer Marco Polo who described the animals during his crossing of Afghanistan in 1271.

The arkhar is a giant among sheep. The largest animals weigh in at 200 kilograms, with curving horns that can extend for two meters.

Sport hunters who want trophies of the world's largest sheep are willing to pay a high price for such a trophy. Revenue is raised on tourism and expedition costs to hunting camps located at 12,000 to 13,500 feet, helping local peoples by providing an important source of currency.

Environmental expert Alikhon Latifi says hunting firms in Tajikistan contribute a lot to the local economy through investment and job creation and are developing sustainable tourism.

"This ill-thought-out, unjustified hunting ban could prompt these firms to leave," he said, adding that if the legitimate companies go, "their place will be filled by poachers."

"Secondly, anyone who has a firearm will start shooting arkhar without any controls," Latifi continued. "It's no secret that there are a lot of weapons in Badakhshan. Not all the arms left over from the [1992-97 civil] war have been seized yet. I believe we'll lose significant numbers of arkhar in a matter of years."

But Firuza Abdurahimova of the Nature Protection Volunteers, a nongovernmental organization, is against trophy hunting.

She says that "because the arkhar is listed as an endangered species internationally, there should be no killing at least until an accurate estimate is made of the number of animals living in Tajikistan and a quota can be established."

The species is listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it is believed to be in significant decline.

Argali is also on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which lists species that may not now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. CITES permits are required for trade in this species or its parts.

According to Tajik official data, there are some 12,000 Marco Polo sheep in Badakhshan, Radio Free Europe reported in January.

An argali census in 2008 by U.S. zoologist George Schaller of the Wildlife Conservation Society was unable to determine a reliable population estimate for Tajikistan.

The census, conducted in the Pamir Mountains, where the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Kunlun ranges meet, attempted to estimate numbers of Marco Polo sheep in four range states - Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Schaller wrote, "Hunting for meat has decimated the Marco Polo sheep populations in all four countries but with better protection they appear to be on the increase in China. Transboundary cooperation is essential if the species is to be adequately protected and managed as argali readily cross international borders, and a four-country Pamir Peace Park has been proposed and is under discussion."

{Institute for War and Peace Reporting contributed to this report.}

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.
 
Posts: 1168 | Location: Colorado | Registered: November 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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today in Tajikistan there are 43 trophies argali sheep, which cannot be taken out. Hunters should wait still for a long time.
 
Posts: 45 | Location: Germany/Kazakhstan | Registered: November 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are 24000 Marco Polo sheeps in Tadgikistan. German experts together with hunting department have defined and have counted up approximate quantity of individuals Marco Polo in this autumn. I get this information from hunting department. We have a good chance that the marco polo hunt will be opened
 
Posts: 45 | Location: Germany/Kazakhstan | Registered: November 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi! Marco Polo Hunters!

The huntig in Tadjikistan is opened for 2010!!!

Best Regards!
 
Posts: 45 | Location: Germany/Kazakhstan | Registered: November 15, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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