Authorities set free three markhors in Naltar valley, about 50kms from Gilgit, officials said on Monday.
Along with another markhor that escaped from a cage last week, the four wild goats were rescued from the wild last year and were kept in a wildlife cage by the Gilgit-Baltistan Forests and Wildlife Department to provide them with the necessary treatment against the ailment that had left two others dead a couple of years back.
“The Forests and Wildlife Secretary Abdul Hameed visited the valley after the markhor escaped last week and ordered that the other three caged markhors be set free on compassionate grounds,” said a wildlife official on condition of anonymity.
The official said that caretakers were looking after the cage at the time of escape. He said two of the inmates were young but all were in
good health at the time of their release into Naltar, a lush green valley that receives thrice the rainfall of Gilgit.
The valley is heavily wooded with pine, spruce, birch, rowan, and juniper being its main forests.
“The cage was not only insecure but also lacked facilities for the animals,” he said.
The fee for tourists to hunt the endangered wild goats in Pakistan is US$51,000. there are around 2, 500 markhors remaining in Pakistan and under 4,000 worldwide.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.
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