A rare species of sheep discovered by Marco Polo in the 13th century is edging closer to extinction due to increased trophy hunting in Central Asian countries, new research reports.
The species, once prominent in the Pamir Mountains on the border of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, now numbers around 10,000, according to George Schaller of the Science and Exploration Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
While political and economic troubles in the area have put the sheep at risk, researchers believe hunting by European and North American trophy hunters has put the species on edge. Unfortunately for the animal, they’re donned with enormous and ornate horns that make them a target of wealthy hunters. Companies like Alaska Hunting Safaris sell trips to kill the sheep for $35,000.
The companies advertising the hunts only pay around $6 for a permit to hunt the sheep and take advantage of notoriously corrupt agencies in charge of regulating the permits. The trophy hunters are well-aware that the species is near extinction, but seemingly do not care.
[Via: Young Turks]