As the Sindh wildlife department prepares for this year’s trophy hunting season, 25 licenses for ibex and urial will be auctioned off. This is concerning given that their population is declining much faster than expected and conservation efforts have failed to revive their numbers enough to sustain activities like trophy hunting. If prohibiting hunting momentarily is not an option, then the least that the government can do is modify our approach towards protecting the ecosystem or limit the number of licenses awarded. Either way, a more proactive approach is desired immediately.

The steady decline in the population of the two animals is largely due to rapid urbanisation, particularly in Sindh. Large housing colonies built on the land that was inhabited by such species previously have pushed them out into an environment that poses a threat to their health and life. Hunters are only supposed to target mature animals but there are barely any to be found. Instead, the young, healthy and thriving population is sometimes targeted and this reduces the prospects of procreation dramatically. The fact that we are still awarding hunting licenses is worrisome because it may lead us to a point of no return.

Our authorities must be more responsible in their approach. It is reassuring to see that the price for each license is rather high—Rs300,000 for locals and $5,600–$14,000 for foreigners. This discourages many from killing the animals and keeps the activity exclusive, all the while generating some funds for improving conservation efforts. However, Pakistan seems to be falling short as there has been no positive change recorded and barely any funds have been allocated towards amplifying the protection of the animals. Their numbers are dwindling, the habitat is deteriorating, and the population regeneration process is seemingly ineffective. Even patrolling by watchmen needs to improve so that laws are adhered to and illegal hunting is prevented completely.

Our government must reconsider its approaches in accordance to how the environment around us changes. The evolving nature of humans’ needs takes a massive toll on the environment and the ecosystem. Accordingly, more resources should be redirected towards mitigating the damage done and preventing future, more permanent, effects.