An American trophy hunter reportedly paid a record $110,000 to shoot and kill a rare mountain goat during a recent tourist expedition in Pakistan.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a photo of the hunter, identified as Bryan Kinsel Harlan, went viral depicting him kneeling and smiling behind the slaughtered goat, identified by Pakistani newspapers as a wild Astore markhor.
“It was an easy and close shot. I am pleased to take this trophy,” the hunter reportedly said, according to Pakistani news outlets. The newspapers reported that Harlan's Pakistani guides said he is from Texas.
The photo drew swift backlash from many on social media who questioned why the practice of hunting markhors was not banned. The markhor is the official national animal of Pakistan.
According to the Post, regional authorities have reportedly said they allowed hunters like Harlan to pay large sums of money to hunt the animal in northern Pakistan this past month as part of a larger effort to help save the endangered species from possible extinction.
The population of the rare goats has reportedly been dwindling in recent years due to local poaching, deforestation, uncontrolled trophy hunting, military activities and other factors. There were an estimated 2,500 markhors remaining in 2011.
Local authorities have begun making efforts in recent years to save the species, designating five sanctuaries in India for markhors to roam freely and reproduce.
Pakistan has reportedly banned all local hunting and has started allowing only 12 male goats to be hunted per season by foreign hunters in “community conservation areas.”
Eighty percent of the proceeds made from the effort reportedly goes to isolated residents who live in the goats’ habitat, while 20 percent is distributed to government wildlife agencies.
The markhor population was upgraded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in 2015 from an endangered species to “near-threatened.”