Is trophy hunting of bharal (blue sheep) and Himalayan tahr contributing to their conservation in Nepal?
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Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Auckland
Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal
District Forest Office, Darchula, Department of Forest, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, University of Southern Queensland
School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia
The Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Veterinary Science and School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney
Publication date: 2015-11-23
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2015;26(2):85–88

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (DHR), the only hunting reserve in Nepal, is famous for trophy hunting of bharal or ‘blue sheep’ (Pseudois nayaur) and Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus). Although trophy hunting has been occurring in DHR since 1987, its ecological consequences are poorly known. We assessed the ecological consequences of bharal and Himalayan tahr hunting in DHR, and estimated the economic contribution of hunting to the government and local communities based on the revenue data. The bharal population increased significantly from 1990 to 2011, but the sex ratio became skewed from male-biased (129 Male:100 Female) in 1990 to female-biased (82 Male:100 Female) in 2011. Similarly, a recent survey of Himalayan tahr showed that there was a total population of 285 tahr with a sex ratio of 60 Male: 100 Female. Bharal and Himalayan tahr trophy hunting has generated economic benefits through generation of local employment and direct income of $364072 during the last five years. Government revenue collected from 2007-08 to 2011-12 totalled $184372. Male-focused trophy hunting as practiced in DHR may not be an ecologically sustainable practice, because its effect on the sex ratio that lead to negative consequences for the genetic structure of the population in the long term. Therefore, the population dynamics and sex ratios of the bharal and tahr must be considered while setting harvest quotas.