Edited by Rich Bowden
Wildlife researchers are concerned a rare sub-species of Central Asian sheep known as Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) is under threat of extinction because of widespread commercial hunting in Central Asian states such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Found in the
The hunting operators have used the Marco Polo sheep as a lucrative commercial opportunity and have in the process, driven the sheep to the edge of extinction. According to George Schaller, vice president of the Science and Exploration Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the species can now be numbered to little more than 10,000.
The population of Marco Polo sheep has declined rapidly in
However trophy hunters originating mostly from western Europe and
Rick Herscher, owner and operator of Alaska Hunting Safaris in
It is alleged that the corruption of officials in
Herscher said that with limited hunting permits available, planning on the safaris begins one year prior to the actual hunt. The official permit fee for hunting on Marco Polo sheep in
Unfortunately the plight of the Marco Polo sheep serves only to remind how we as a human society need to understand better how important the issue of conserving and protecting endangered species such as the Marco Polo sheep is for the future of our planet. Even in the 21st century it appears we are still unable to protect our endangered fauna for the benefit of future generations. History teaches us that what we lose will not return and that acting now is our only chance for preservation.
The example of the Marco Polo sheep is salient as we know that the world will lose this unique species if nothing is done to prevent irresponsible hunting in the abovementioned Central Asian states. Wealthy trophy hunters from around the globe, who apparently know that this species is under threat of extinction, appear to suffer no remorse.