Probe ordered into poaching of markhor

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Wildlife Department has swung into action over illegal hunting of markhor at Chitral Gol National Park [Birmoglasht] and ordered a thorough probe into the incident.

The authorities have taken serious notice of media reports that poaching of markhor in connivance with local wildlife officials is rampantly going on in Chitral, posing serious threat to the rare specie.
 Talking to this correspondent over the phone from Peshawar, Mubarak Ali Shah, chief conservator Wildlife Department KP, confirmed that an inquiry had been ordered soon after the story was published and stern action will be taken against those involved in the recent poaching incident.
When insisted that the illegal hunting of markhor was not possible without greasing the palms of the concerned DFO of the area, he maintained that let alone the DFO, whosoever is involved in such illegal activity, will not escape the wrath of the law.
“A departmental inquiry has just been ordered besides referring the matter to the forest magistrate [and] the wildlife staff will be taken to task if found even slightly involved in facilitating the poachers”, he added.
Shah continued that if this is the negligence of the concerned officials, it will spoil the image of the country at international level. “I assure you that nobody will be spared…it’s a crime, why they [wildlife staff] were so helpless, we’ve taken up the issue”, he asserted. The chief conservator said that Chitral Gol National Park is one of largest wildlife conservatories of the country, which holds around 2000 markhor along with pother rare species.
The park, which was established in 1980, he added, has helped in increasing the population markhor and the total population of the animal has astonishingly reached to 2000. About legal hunting, he said that 36 hunts have been conducted so far by the gamers, who pay $95000 for getting a license to hunt once, adding that the department has earned revenues amounting to $1.9 million through its legal hunting.
The 80 percent of the revenue earned through hunting, he added, goes to local community, who also helps in conservation activity of the animals in the park, which is instrumental in increasing the population of the animal.

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