GILGIT: In a major development, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) wildlife department has arrested a man for killing more than 100 ibex (Capra sibirica) in the region.
The arrest has come as a shock and surprise in G-B where the lucrative conservation programme called trophy hunting was believed to have discouraged illegal hunting of precious wild species.
Mohammad Essa was arrested late Tuesday night when he was on the way to his home in Hoper village of district Nagar, a wildlife department's official told The Express Tribune, terming the crime unprecedented in the G-B history.
“The car was raided on a tip-off and about 30kg of ibex meat was also recovered from the vehicle,” the official said, adding that the raiding party was headed by range forest officer (RFO) Naik Alam.
Subsequently, the accused and his car were handed over to police for legal formalities.
According to sources, the culprit revealed during the investigation that he used to supply meat to some government officials and other influential people to oblige them. He also named his two other accomplices who were also arrested by the police.
Shamoon and Ghaffar were also nabbed Thursday and recovered a 7mm gun used and skin of the hunted ibex.
They were sentenced to two years jail besides a penalty of Rs.140, 000. The weapon recovered was handed over to police who registered a separate case against them.
Saving Pakistan’s ibex hunting programme
According to an official statement, Essa was presented before a forest magistrate/DFO Gibran Haider on Wednesday where he reportedly confessed to killing over 100 ibex.
The magistrate sentenced him to one-year imprisonment besides imposing a penalty of Rs140,000 under wildlife Act 1975.
Himalayan ibex are found at an altitude of about 3,660 metres to over 5,000 metres in the higher mountain ranges of Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayan mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The long-horned animal is one of the 18 rare species for those hunting permit is allowed officially in G-B under trophy hunting programme in the region.
Last year the hunting fee was about Rs110,000.