A Texan trophy hunter faces massive backlash after reportedly paying $110,000 for a permit to kill a rare, endangered mountain goat in Pakistan, before posing for a triumphant photo with the dead animal after the hunt.
Authorities in Pakistan banned local poachers from hunting the country’s endangered markhor goats. This was after the population of these rare species reached a worrisome low of 2,500.
However, foreign trophy hunters, such as Bryan Harlan, seem to be an exception.
Harlan traveled across Pakistan, exploring the northern Himalayas region, to trophy hunt a rare animal living there.
A video posted on social media shows Harlan climbing through mountains in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit region, before shooting at the goat at close range, high-fiving with guides and then pulling the animal up by its horns.
Harlan told the regional press:
“It was an easy and close shot. I am pleased to take this trophy.”
According to The Independent, Harlan is only the third American trophy hunter to visit Pakistan specifically to kill a markhor.
In another video, Harlan thanks everyone for being “welcomed with open arms” and recommends any interested Americans visiting Pakistan to follow his lead.
Unsurprisingly, many people online weren’t pleased by what Harlan did and believed this isn’t supposed to be happening to this rare, markhor goat population.
Many were frustrated to see the photo and the videos Harlan made, and are wondering if there aren’t enough preventive laws surrounding this barbaric, recreational hobby.
Taking to Twitter, animals rights grout, PETA, wrote:
“Goats are gentle individuals, not trophies.”
Some Pakistanis also called for a ban on hunting such animals.
Meanwhile, the trophy hunter himself—together with Pakistani authorities—claims killings the animals is part of a healthy conservation effort and “are required” to maintain the ecosystem.
“This is a perfect example of hunters and villagers coming together for a common goal of game conservation.”
Sadly, due to military encroachment, deforestation, poaching, and unregulated trophy hunting, markhor species are experiencing a decrease in population in recent years.
To combat the depletion of these goats, Pakistan banned all local hunting. It also started selling pricey permits—allowing only a small number of foreign trophy hunters to kill only 12 male markhors per season in strictly designated areas.
The money from the permits was funneled back into efforts to conserve the species and support the surrounding communities.
As a result, the markhor population increased by 2015, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature upgraded the species from endangered to “near-threatened.”
Wildlife activists estimate there are approximately 5,700 of the species globally.