Marco Polo Trophies From Tajikistan Still In Limbo For US Hunters


Published: November - 2009

You may remember our story this past September about those Marco Polo shipments from Tajikistan that the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) had detained. As of press time, those trophies were still in limbo, and we'd heard that USFWS was in the process of interviewing hunters for more details about their hunts. According to the letters from wildlife inspectors with the Service, they are conducting an inquiry into the legality and authenticity of the foreign permits attached to these shipments in order to determine whether they have been imported in violation of regulations or in an unlawful manner.

As we reported previously, there was an issue with the hunting dates provided on the import permits for these shipments. A letter from Tajikistan authorities supposedly had cleared that up. But another problem with what are called re-export permits has also come up, and at press time had not been resolved. Also, we've discovered that USFWS believes some kind of illegal hunting has been taking place in Tajikistan, and we can't help but wonder if this may be behind the current investigation. In fact, John J. Jackson of Conservation Force says that sending out investigative teams to interview hunters in their respective home states suggests there must be more to this than meets the eye and is of concern to him.

According to Mike Carpenter, senior biologist for the Division of Management Authority for USFWS, the Service believes that illegal hunting is one of the reasons why the President of Tajikistan supposedly closed the hunting season this past January. Mind you, all of the other sources we have spoken to say a written presidential decree officially closing the season was never issued. Despite that, USFWS is operating under the belief that the season was and still is closed, as they have not received anything from Tajikistan stating otherwise.

Additionally, the Service never received the population studies and other information required for them to make a non-detriment finding for Marco Polo sheep hunting in Tajikistan. That means, import permits for US hunters were not issued for........(continued)

 
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