CIC Markhor Award 2014
9 October 2014

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The CIC Markhor Award as a special, high-level event at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) honours outstanding performance in maintaining, restoring, conserving and enhancing biodiversity through the sustainable use of natural resources, in particular through the sustainable use of wildlife through regulated hunting. Incidentally, the name Markhor Award was conceived by a group of CIC leaders in recognition of decades of success in the restoration of markhor populations in Pakistan. The CIC Markhor Award presentation is now almost a tradition at the Conference of Parties.

Markhor_invitationThe CIC Markhor Award was presented for the first time at CBD CoP9 in Bonn 2008 jointly to Niassa National Reserve, the largest conservation area in Mozambique, and the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor, which links the Niassa NR with Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve. In 2010, during CBD CoP10 in Nagoya, Japan, Pakistan’s Torghar Conservation Programme (TCP) and the Society for Torghar Environmental Protection (STEP) were awarded. At CBD CoP11, 2012 in Hyderabad, India, the highly acclaimed conservation successes through sustainable use in rural Namibia won the CIC Markhor Award for the representatives of the Namibian Communal Conservancies.

There is one very important detail which is common to all three laureates. This particular commonality was not necessarily a prerequisite for the selectors, but as evidence from Africa and Asia shows, it may indeed be one critical success factor for positive conservation outcomes: the all-important empowerment of local communities to look after and manage their own natural resources and heritage.

Underlining successful outcomes of such community-based conservation programmes, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued this week a press release about trophy hunting of straight-horned markhor in the areas managed by the Torghar community. Since one primary objective of well-managed trophy hunting is the conservation of large mammals, the programme in Torghar is indeed one measurable key cause for the resurgence of markhor and urial in the area from the brink of extinction. The prima-faciae evidence presented by the Society for Torghar Environmental Protection, and avid supporters like Conservation Force, convinced the US Fish and Wildlife Service to announcing the downlisting of the straight-horned markhor from endangered to threatened. The story of the Torghar conservation success can be seen in the movie “The Suleiman Markhor of the Torghar Hills” (will be shown at the CIC Markhor Award Ceremony); detailed information about mountain ungulate conservation, amongst them iconic species like markhor, argali and urial can also be found in the new “CIC Caprinae Atlas of the World”.

The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation CIC is a global advocate of the principle that conservation works best when the people who live with wildlife on their ancestral lands take full responsibility of their natural heritage! International attention needs to focus on the accomplishments of biodiversity conservation through well-managed sustainable use.

During the 12th Conference of the Parties in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, the 2014 CIC Markhor Award Ceremony will honour another deserving candidate on 15 October at 19:00 at the Music Tent of the CEPA Fair. Help us promoting best practices in wildlife conservation by informing your network members of the event.

Read more about the Straight-horned Markhor (Capra falconeri megaceros) here.