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13-01-2015, 14:37

Over 3 mln somoni reportedly raised from hunting Marco Polo sheep in 2014


Avesta.Tj | 13.01.2015 | The sale of licenses for hunting Marco Polo sheep during the hunting season in 2014 earned the Tajik government more than 3 million somoni (about 550,000 U.S. dollars), Abduqodir Maskaev, head of plants and animals protection department within the Committee for Environmental Protection said at a news conference on Tuesday.

According to him, 67 Marco Polo sheep hunts have been organized, though 70 licenses for hunting Marco Polo sheep have been allocated.

The license for hunting Marco Polo sheep costs 45,000 somoni (about 8,000 U.S. dollars), Maskaev said.

The majority of devotees of hunting Marco polo sheep are citizens of the United States, Europe, Mexico and South Africa.

According to the Tajikistan’s Committee for Environmental Protection, some 24,000 Marco Polo sheep are reportedly living in the high mountains of the country.

The Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) is a subspecies of argali sheep, named after Marco Polo. Their habitat is the mountainous regions of Central Asia.

Marco Polo sheep are distinguishable mostly by their large size and spiraling horns. Their conservation status is "near threatened" and efforts have been made to protect their numbers and keep them from commercial hunting. It has also been suggested that crossing them with domestic sheep could have agricultural benefits.