Permit $40,000 for Hunting a Yak

August 13, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: August 13, 2006 12:00 am

The sale of hunting licenses in China will take place in Chengdu City on August 13. Legal hunting and harvesting of wild animals including yaks, argali, wolves and other exotics will take place in five western areas.

Licenses will be sold only to international guests and visitors. Because of China's strict gun control laws, Chinese citizens will not be eligible to purchase the newly available hunting licenses. China Youth Daily has reported that the starting price for a license to hunt a wolf might go for US$200. Permission to shoot a yak could be as much as US$40000. Shooting an argali will cost about US$10000. A blue sheep will cost US$2500. The wolf is the only carnivorous animal on the list of wild animals that would be hunted.

This is the first time China has sold hunting licenses based on the types and numbers of wild animals expected to be harvested. Five western areas, including Qinghai, Sha'anxi and Gansu provinces and the autonomous regions of Ningxia and Xinjiang, are involved in the sale of licenses.

Before the sale of hunting licenses has begun, the public had raised many questions. Would hunting put the animals in danger of becoming extinct? Does it make sense for the Wildlife Conservation Association to sell hunting licenses which will result in the killing of wild animals?

Wildlife management specialists have explained to the public that regulated hunting season will serve to protect both wildlife population health and the environment. Reducing population numbers will put wildlife population and environmental capacity for supporting such population into the proper balance.

This will be the first time in China's recent history that hunting licenses will be sold. The number of licenses sold and the regulation of the hunt will be based on proven wildlife management practices.

Members from the China Wildlife Conservation Association expressed that this is an experimental approach to get a good estimate of the market price of these resources. The profit for each argali harvested could reach as much as US$10000. An illegal poacher would receive only a small fraction of this amount through sale of the meat.

The Chinese public continues to question this first sale of hunting licenses in China. The permission to hunt wild animals might bring a terrible disaster on the animals; and the sale of licenses would not reduce existing illegal poaching activities.