The latest trophy hunter to make waves paid $110,000—a record—to kill a rare mountain goat in Pakistan. Bryan Kinsel Harlan, as he was was identified in Pakistani newspapers, told Dawn News he took "an easy and close shot" to kill the wild Astore markhor in Pakistan’s northern Himalayan region of Gilgit-Baltistan, and was "pleased to take this trophy." Harlan—a Texas entrepreneur, according to Fox News—posed for smiling photos with the goat, which is Pakistan's official national animal and is also known as the screw horn goat thanks to the shape of its long horns, which can grow up to five feet. While many on social media wondered why it's legal to kill the majestic animals, officials and conservation groups tell the Washington Post such trophy hunts have actually helped the markhor.
For decades, the goats' numbers had been falling due to poachers, deforestation, logging, and uncontrolled trophy hunting—along with many other reasons. In 2011, just 2,500 of the animals, which are native to the Himalayan ranges of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, were believed to remain. Sanctuaries were established and local hunting of the animals was banned in Pakistan, but officials decided to allow foreign hunters to kill 12 males per season, with the money raised by those hunts going to residents of the region (incentive not to poach the animals) as well as government wildlife agencies. And though such tactics have made things worse for threatened species in other countries, things have worked out in Pakistan, with the markhor population rebounding so much that by 2015 it was upgraded from endangered to near-threatened. (Cecil the lion and his son both met similar ends.)