HUNTING AS A CONSERVATION TOOL
Tajikistan is one of the leading countries in Asia in terms of Nature Conservation. The amount of animals as well as their diversity has doubled since the ninety second (1992’s). 30 to 80 percent of all wild animals in Tajikistan are found on private land – this is largely credited to the trophy hunting industry.The experience of engagement the local communities in the wildlife conservation in Tajikistan has its 30-year history. The trophy hunting began in the Republic of Tajikistan in 1987. But with the release of the updated Red Book of the Republic, all hunting for rare and vanishing animal species was discontinued, according to its provisions. After numerous appeals of travel agencies about the resumption of such hunting again, the Ministry of Nature Protection sent a request to the Academy of Sciences and it was decided to carry out a large-scale count of the number of argali in the Pamirs, since it was believed that its population was in critical condition.In February 1990, the State Commission conducted a helicopter survey. As a result of the count, 10.3 thousand argali were counted. In the report prepared by the Institute of Zoology and Parasitology, 19 recommendations on the protection and recovery of argali in the Pamirs were proposed. The last paragraph of these recommendations suggested the opening of a limited trophy hunting for argali in the amount of 30 heads per year. The collegium of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RT approved these recommendations, where the main requirement was to hand out the lands (hunting grounds) for users, responsible to protect animals and conduct a complex of biotechnical measures. This was a historic decision, because during civil war in Tajikistan, the firms established by local indigenous communities saved the argali’s population in the Pamirs. Subsequently, the conditions for carrying out trophy hunting by local communities were enshrined in the Law «On the Protection of Animals.» The payments for hunting were distributed to the republican, regional and district budgets, with most of the funds remained in the hunting places and used for public needs and nature protection. The number of firms reached out 14, but later reduced to 7. About 300 people of the local population are involved in protection and organization of trophy hunting. Since 1990, the trophy limit increased to 85 head of argali per year without damaging the population.The policy of protection and rational use of wildlife by local communities developed in the republic showed good results. The number of argali increased and reached 26.5 thousand individuals in last year. This practice was applied for conservation of other rare ungulate species such as urial and markhor. The number of markhorhas increased to 2.3 thousand heads in recent years.Six companies, consisting of the members of local community in Darvaz, work in the area. The money received from hunting is spent not only on the protection of wildlife, they also used for help to the local residents with fuel, medicines, food and other goods.The profit received from this program motivated companies to start the development a program for captive breeding of the valuable rare and threatened wildlife species in the various parts of the country. The companies build farming enterprises, where they started captive breeding of argali, markhor, urial and other animals. These companies also support establishment and opening the Pamir Biological Center in the Murghab district. This activity characterizes a new stage of nature protection development in the country.