Ever wanted to hunt the endangered snow leopard? Too bad. The Mongolian government has just reversed an earlier decision to allow foreign hunters to kill four endangered snow leopards for "scientific purposes."
From this story on xinhuanet.com:
The Mongolian government had revoked a decision it made earlier this month to allow foreigners to hunt leopards for scientific purpose, local media reported Wednesday. Mongolian Environment and Tourism Minister L. Gansukh canceled the permission to kill four leopards for scientific purpose this year, after meeting researchers and representatives of non-government organizations to discuss the issue. The researchers opposed the decision made by the cabinet on March 2. They said genetic research and other modern technologies made it possible to do scientific research without killing the highly endangered species. _The decision to allow four leopards to be hunted incurred opposition worldwide. Snow Leopard Network, a major organization aimed at protecting the species, sent a written appeal to the government, urging it to reverse its decision.
Apparently the government of Mongolia approves hunting quotas on a yearly basis and the snow leopards' inclusion in this year's quota created much controversy, according to this story on the mongolnews.ub website:
_Last week, the Government issued a decision permitting foreign nationalities hunting up-to four leopards for research purposes in 2011. In connection with the Cabinet decision, Snow Leopard Network, a worldwide organization involved in snow leopard conservation, takes immediate action and sent a letter to Mongolian government asking them not to allow permits for hunting snow leopards. In its letter, Snow Leopard Network sought Mongolian government's support for ensuring the conservation of this highly endangered species, stressing that the entire international community has been highly concerned by reports that an official license to hunt four snow leopards has just been granted in Mongolia. "As you are aware, the snow leopard is threatened with extinction, and is categorized as Endangered in the IUCN's Red List. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists it in its SCHEDULE I, thereby prohibiting any international trade in snow leopards or its body parts" the letter reads. SLT noted in the letter numerous non-invasive, state of the art research techniques - for instance molecular genetics, GPS satellite collaring and camera trapping - available today which have completely taken away the need to kill individuals.
At the Cabinet meeting last week, foreign hunters were permitted to hunt 120 wild goats, five red deers, 150 Mongolian antelopes, fourty grey wolves, fourty roe deers, twenty wild pigs and up to 400 birds. It also allowed to hunt two brown bears and up to four leopards this year. A survey conducted in 2009 and 2010 estimate that the country has 17,9 thousand wild sheep, 24.4 thousand mountain goats, over 10 thousand red deer, nearly 12 thousand black-tailed gazelle, 5,6 million Mongolian antelope, over 1,200 leopards and over 6 thousand saker falsons.
What do you think? Should the snow leopard hunt have gone on, or as an endangered species, should it not have been considered in the first place?