Three trophy hunting permits issued

CHITRAL: The Wildlife Department auctioned three hunting permits of Kashmir Markhor for $231,050 in Toshi Shasha and Gahirait game reserves of Chitral, sources said here on Sunday.They said that open bids had been invited for the auction of the permits. “The hunting season in Chitral will last till March during which the permit holders will hunt the animals,” they added.They said that 80 per cent of the amount, received from auction of the permits, would be handed over to local communities while the rest would go to wildlife department.Sources said that once endangered species, the population of Kashmir Markhor had been increased to a comfortable strength during the one-and-half decade by involving local communities in the preservation process.They said that the wildlife department set up village conservation communities (VCCs).“These bodies get their share in the income of hunting permits and utilise the same for development of the community,” they added.The VCCs are strengthened by the wildlife department to preserve the flora and fauna at their respective pastures while the office-bearers of these bodies are chosen by the community members themselves through democratic process.Apart from Kashmir Markhor, the hunting permits of Himalayan Ibex are also sold in different locations of Chitral – Dawn