The Government of Tajikistan has announced the markhor quota for the ongoing hunting season that lasts until 28 February 2015. Six markhor are on quota. The Tajik or Heptner’s markhor is found only in two scattered populations in the Kugitang Mountains at the border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and in the mountains along the Pyanj River at the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Thanks to the conservation efforts by private and community based conservancies, the population has recovered in recent years. In 2012 a total of 1018 markhor was counted, among them a healthy percentage of mature males.
The permits for Tajik markhor must be purchased directly from the local conservancies, which manage the species. This direct marketing without intermediaries is necessary to fulfil the requirements for the import of hunting trophies of markhor. This wild goat is listed under Appendix I of CITES. Species listed under this Appendix are prohibited for any commercial trade. Import permits can only be issued, if the hunting and import of the specimen is not only not detrimental for the conservation status of the species, but contributes directly to the conservation of the population. It is also crucial that the hunting supports the livelihood of the local communities in the vicinity of this population, thus creating direct conservation incentives. Recently some outfitters have tried to act as intermediaries for markhor hunts in Tajikistan, offering very low prices to the local conservancies or trying to bypass these conservancies. Such hunts would not benefit the conservation of the Tajik markhor. They can thus put the entire conservation-hunting program under the risk that no further permits will be issued. To my best knowledge no markhor hunts in Tajikistan are legal except these described here, which are directly marketed by the local conservancies.
Trophy quality is very good, as markhor has been hunted last year for the first time and poaching is not significant. The chance for a successful hunt is very high. Last year all hunters got their trophy and had an exciting experience, being guided by the local traditional hunters. If a hunter nevertheless would not get his chance to shoot his markhor, he pays only the deposit of 50%. It is also possible to hunt Siberian ibex after the markhor has been taken. The price is 3,990 Euro.
The umbrella organisation of the community and family-based conservancies in Tajikistan managing these game species is the Tajikistan Mountain Ungulates Project. This is especially good news for the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), as this project has been honoured at the 12th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2014 with the CIC Markhor Award.
Members of the Darshaydara Community Based Conservancy, one of the six partner organisations within the Tajikistan Mountain Ungulate Project, with the CIC Markhor Award
The CIC Markhor Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding conservation performance by personalities, private and government institutions, enterprises, or conservation projects that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through the application of the principles of sustainable use, in particular hunting, as part of wildlife and ecosystem management. The award was very highly appreciated by the local communities. Partners and members of the conservancies celebrated this recognition with great enthusiasm.
The CIC has volunteered to make the contact between the potential hunter and the village communities in order to facilitate communication. The markhor conservancies can therefore be directly contacted via the CIC Headquarters.
Last February the CIC facilitated already two successful hunts in order to support the conservancies. The CIC does not act as an agent and does also not receive a commission. Potential hunters must enquire import requirements from their own national CITES authority. Tajikistan is not a CITES member. Last year both hunters could import their trophies legally and without hassles into their home country. Please note that the CIC does not act as an agent and does not receive a commission. Furthermore, we ask hunting tour operators not to contact the CIC in this matter.
A detailed description of the markhor concessions, the species and the history of the conservation effort including maps is found in the new CIC Caprinae Atlas.