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Trophy Hunting Pushing Marco Polo Sheep Toward Extinction

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]




12 comments
  1. yoga chair

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  2. George

    This article is FALSE! Hunting for international hunters was reopened around 1987 through Intourist the USSR’s department of travel. Hunting for these sheep was very limited until the mid 1990s under strict limitations of the number of licensee issued per season.In 2009 hunting in Tajikistan was closed due to the country not having accurate statistics of the sheep population. In 2009 the Tajik government conducted a population survey of these sheep with the help of many international organizations and agencies. At the beginning of 2010 hunting there was reopened due to the healthy sheep population. These sheep are classified as CITES II. Therefore hunting is STRICTLY regulated. It isn’t the hunters that threaten the declining number of Marco Polo sheep. It is poaching, the ILLEGAL hunting of these sheep by locals and by wolves eating lambs.

  3. jay

    The truth is the trophy hunting isn’t hurting the breeding population because the hunters only harvest the top rams, so the other rams will breed his females,which in the end doesn’t hurt the overall population. I know its hard to understand this if you don’t hunt but when they come and spend a crazy amount of money thats an incentive to the locals to regulate and not poach the animals for themselves but use them as a natural resource bring much needed capital to the poor reigion. Read the new reports out the population is very very much higher than this ad says. So in the end trophy hunting like it or not will save the species.

  4. Adelle Comfort

    I guess if you pay about $25K and spend other multiple thousands of dollars to travel for days, you think you have the right to murder these animals at long range without having to challenge the animals at all. I think all of you who shoot these animals with long range rifles and then mount your trophies are sick ‘human beings’. The ones on the program called “I should not be alive” who kileed at least two of them and then were stranded for three days in blizzards and suffered a crash of their ‘rescue’ helicopter should realize that it is called KARMA. Hey, for those who talk about ‘money for the locals’…..how about traveling and taking pictures and showing yourself up close and personal to a LIVE ‘Marco Polo’ Sheep…we can’t even call them by their real name, we need to give them a nick name. Wheter you believe in a higher power or not, this stuff shows us that we are the low lifes of this planet.

  5. PHILLIP

    JUST READ A STORY ABOUT MARCO POLO SHEEP. IT SEEMS THAT THE LOCALS ARE ALREADY RESTRICTING THE HUNTING UNTILL THE HERDS BUILD BACK UP. FUNNY HOW THEY DID THIS WITHOUT GV’T FUNDING OR HELP FROM THE TREE HUGGERS.

  6. Albert Gutierrez

    You don’t know what you are talking about. these hunts provide much needed income for the local people. Instead of the locals killing the sheep indescrimatly for food they now protect them and the habitat because they now have become much more valuable. it’s just like in Africa– the countries that don’t allow sport hunting of elephants have none left or very few. Where there is sport hunting the numbers are growing and are healthy– check the facts.

  7. Janina

    How deplorable that these endangered sheep are hunted solely for the purpose of having its head or other body parts on someone’s trophy wall. What’s even sicker are the companies who profit from such unnecessary killing, all in the name of money.

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