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partridge. He has his own tame “keklik” in the pocket of his jacket and hopes its call would attract others to come close. We have asked him not to bring his shotgun, and so he has put some traditional little snares on the ground that he would collect when we leave. We are in these mountains because we read in old Soviet literature that once the markhor was found here. These magnificent wild goats with corkscrew like horns were in the past widely distributed in the mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the south of the Central Asian republics of that time Soviet Union. Despite being formally protected, markhor numbers have suffered from intensive poaching in their distribution range which consequently shrank massively during the 20th century. And most of the remaining markhor populations now live in border areas and/or conflict zones with a lot of soldiers and armed people around. So in the 1980s and 1990s the small populations declined fast and the species was soon considered “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List, and listed first in Appendix II and later in Appendix I of CITES, requiring strict control of international trade in the species. Already during the British colonial empire the markhor trophy was sought after by foreign hunters. Trophy hunts that time did not create any incentives for local people to protect the markhor as they had little benefits from the foreigners killing their goats. The situation only changed when in Pakistan communities were entitled by the government to manage their wildlife and to keep 80% of the trophy fees. Local people in some areas recognized the value of the markhor and started to stop poaching by their community members and by outsiders. Markhor numbers there started to recover, and since 2008 the model is replicated in Tajikistan. Here as well where local traditional hunters established conservancies and stopped poaching markhor population numbers recovered. In 2013 the first legal markhor hunts were permitted and while the government takes about $40,000 USD per permit, of which a part is supposed to be reinvested at the local level. These local people who manage the conservancies get significant amounts if hunts are sold directly to hunting tourists and they have agreed to invest 30% of their revenues into projects of their own communities. 10 BISBEE’S CONSERVATION JOURNAL Q1/Q2 • 2016


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