Well, the good news is, Mike Carpenter in the Permit Office of the US Fish & Wildlife Service finally received the survey report he was looking for on September 1. More than three weeks later, just after our October issue had gone to print, he decided to issue 10 import permits.
Carpenter says the report shows the argali population in Kyrgyzstan has declined by about 5,000 animals from the estimate of two years ago, which had pegged the population between 14,000 and 15,000 animals. The difference is probably related to their survey techniques and extrapolations, says Carpenter. He also noted that the Kyrgyz have a serious poaching problem and a number of management issues to solve.
Now that this season's permit crisis is over and Americans are able to hunt Kyrgyzstan once again, the obvious question is whether we will we see a repeat of this crisis next season. Obviously, the Kyrgyz need the assistance of a US organization experienced in conducting wildlife population surveys and then presenting the results in a way that meets US Fish & Wildlife Service requirements. We'll certainly praise in these pages any organization that steps up to the plate.