Animals, especially rare and priceless specimens, often find themselves at the short end of the stick when they come against humans, from the far-reaching effects of global warming to whole species dying out from hunting and other activities. In an article originally posted on the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn.com, a Texan man reportedly paid $110,000 to hunt a rare mountain goat called the markhor during the current hunting season in Sassi village of Gilgit in Pakistan.
This was the third American citizen to have hunted the highest-priced markhor in that manner this season. The wild astore markhor is a screw-horned goat that lives in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the northern Himalayas.
According to the Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife department, the American, Bryan Kinsel Harlan, successfully hunted a flared-horned markhor in the Sassi-Harmosh community conservation area. He paid $110,000 to secure a permit before he could legally hunt the rare Himalayan mountain goat, making this the highest permit fee ever bought in the country. 
Harlan managed to hunt the 41-inch markhor, which is considered a good-sized trophy.
“It was an easy and close shot, and I am pleased to take this trophy,” said Harlan.
A YouTube video from Harlan’s hunt shows the mortgage banking executive from Dallas firing at least one shot into a markhor, causing it to leap into the air.
Harlan is then seen celebrating with another member of his hunting party before a group of locals drag the kill up a mountain where he poses over its corpse.
“It is an honor and privilege to be back in Pakistan,” said Harlan. “This is the third time I am in Pakistan. I have hunted almost all animals here. I saved the markhors for the last.” 
Ensuring the longevity of the markhor
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the markhor, which is Farsi for “snake eater,” was considered endangered across the region until four years ago. In 2011 it was estimated that only 2,500 markhors were left in the wild due to poaching, deforestation, and hunters seeking their horns, which can grow up to five feet in length.
The markhor is the national animal of Pakistan, and its legislation makes it illegal to hunt or kill the species without a permit. However, 12 licenses are made available every year for enthusiasts who want to hunt a male markhor. 
This explains why Harlan had to pay such a huge amount to hunt one, and he was one of just three Americans who purchased the permits this season. US citizens Dianda Christopher Anthony and John Amistoso had paid a $105,000 and $100,000 permit fee respectively for the right to hunt the Astore Markhor.
Images of Harlan’s kill was met with some backlash from animal rights activists and organizations on social media. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals published a tweet criticizing Harlan for his hunting adventure.
“Goats are gentle individuals, NOT TROPHIES,” wrote PETA.
Meredith Ayan, an executive of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, expressed that she was shocked when she heard Harlan had paid such a high amount to shoot a rare animal. This, she said, is “beyond comprehension.”
“Why you would want to reduce a population of an already rare animal is beyond us,” she stated. 
Giving the community some hope in return
However, Pakistani officials and local conservation groups say that the practice of giving out hunting permits has actually helped de-incentivize poaching, saving the species from possible extinction.
Authorities say that eighty percent of the money raised from hunting permits fee goes to local communities near the markhors’ habitat, and the remaining 20 percent goes to supporting Pakistani wildlife agencies.
Tabarak Ullah, a Pakistani hunting guide who was part of Harlan’s team, said that not only do the hunts pump money into local communities and promote conservation, they are also good for tourism.
“This is not just about hunting,” Ullah said. “The number of animals is increasing, and these foreign hunters are millionaires who go back and tell the world that Pakistan is safe.”
This can be observed in Harlan’s video, where he remarks that Pakistan is a beautiful country that more people should visit.
“You’re missing out,” he said.
Keep Reading: Goats Are as Loving and Clever as Dogs, Study Shows
- ‘Another US citizen hunts markhor’ Dawn. Published February 5, 2019
- ‘Texas big game hunter paid Pakistani government $110,000 to kill a rare Himalayan screw-horn goat’ Daily Mail Megan Sheets. Published February 12 2019
- ‘Texas businessman pays $110K to kill rare mountain goat in Pakistan’ NBC News Farnoush Amiri. Published February 13, 2019.
- ‘A Texas trophy hunter reportedly paid $110K to kill a rare mountain goat in Pakistan’ USA Today Brett Molina.