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Argali sheep Ovis ammon trophy hunting in Mongolia

Authors:
  • "Argali Wildlife Research Center" NGO, Mongolia
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Institute of General and Experimental Biology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences

Abstract

[fr] L’argali Ovis ammon de Mongolie est un trophée très apprécié par les chasseurs étrangers du fait de ses grandes cornes spiralées. La gestion de la chasse, si on la veut soutenable, doit être bien planifiée et doit faire participer les populations locales. Le nombre d'argalis en Mongolie a beaucoup baissé ces dernières années surtout du fait du braconnage et de la compétition avec les animaux domestiques, ces derniers ayant augmenté au cours de la dernière décade. Nous étudions les lois, les réglementations et les revenus associés à la chasse en Mongolie. Cette chasse au trophée se montre lucrative et le nombre de licences et d'associations de chasseurs a augmenté significativement ees dernières années. Cependant, le -programme a soulevé une controverse. D'abord, l'opposition locale a augmenté, puis les média ont parlé de corruption. Pour sortir de cette situation, nous suggérons la réforme de cette gestion de la chasse-trophée d'argali en Mongolie, de façon a conserver l'animal et a obtenir un appui public de longue durée. Cette réforme doit être basée sur les point suivants: 1) ouverture et transparence; 2) révision externe et surveillance; 3) autorité mixte de haut en bas et de bas en haut avec l'accord local, et 4) conservation active et adaptative de l'argali, en utilisant pour la gestion les fonds générés par la chasse au trophée. [es] En Mongolia el argali (Ovis ammon) es un trofeo altamente cotizado por cazadores extranjeros debido a su impresionante tamaño y a sus largos cuernos espirales. Para que este recurso sea sostenible los planes de caza deben estar bien dirigidos y contar con el apoyo de la población local. Su número en Mongolia parece declinar rápidamente debido principalmente al furtivismo y a la competencia con el ganado, que ha aumentado durante la pasada década. Se describen las leyes, regulaciones y las ganancias obtenidas asociadas a la caza del argali en Mongolia. La caza del argali es lucrativa y el número de licencias de caza y organizaciones de cazadores se ha incrementado durante la pasada década. La controversia que rodea el plan de caza se ha manifestado en una creciente oposición local y en acusaciones de corrupción por parte de los medios de comunicación. Como salida a esta situación, se propone el replanteamiento de la gestión de la caza de trofeo del argali en Mongolia, de forma que mejore su conservación y que, al mismo tiempo, disfrute de un apoyo popular duradero. El plan de caza de trofeo resultante debe estar caracterizado por: 1) accesibilidad y transparencia, 2) revisión y supervisión externa, 3) una autoridad representativa de los sectores implicados que cuente con el apoyo local y 4) uso de fondos generados por la caza de trofeo que financien una gestión y conservación dinámica del argali.
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... In the past, trophy hunting companies would make contracts with soum governors before national quotas were set, and then submit these contracts to the ministry. Then, after the cabinet decided national quotas, the ministry would assign licenses directly to hunting companies (Amgalanbaatar et al, 2002). According to Zorigt, who worked for Mongol Tour and Juulchin for many years and now directs his own hunting company, these assignments were not based on which companies were the best hunters or which areas had the best management. ...
... In the past, there was significant concern that the ministry was assigning licenses to companies with no past experience in hunting. Indeed, Amgalanbaatar et al. (2002) report that in 2002, only 12 of the 70 argali licenses were assigned to companies that had hunted in the past, and B. ...
... Thus, trophy hunting produced no net financial gains for the soums in which it occurred. Indeed, there was no guarantee that all licenses would be sold, so a soum with trophy hunting might be forced to operate on a smaller budget than it would without trophy hunting (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002). Amgalanbaatar et al. (2002) report that due to this lack of financial benefit from trophy hunting, there was significant opposition to trophy hunting within soums. ...
Technical Report
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In this report, I investigate these changes and the current management of trophy hunting in Mongolia. Is trophy hunting now better protecting Mongolia’s wildlife? After performing an extensive literature review and speaking with government officials, conservationists, and hunting company representatives in Ulaanbaatar, I visited Tsetseg soum (district) in Khovd aimag (province) to investigate the real-world implications of trophy hunting by speaking to local community members and government officials. In total, I performed twenty-four interviews. Over the course of this research, I found that while the 2012 revisions to Mongolia’s trophy hunting significantly improved the system’s potential to support wildlife conservation, reducing the potential for corruption, increasing its ecological sustainability, and linking it more closely to local communities, it will not effectively support wildlife conservation until stakeholders’ capacity increases, local community members feel involved and valued, and local governments properly redirect revenue back to wildlife conservation.
... Additionally, absence of major barriers between the regions enables free movement from Altai mountains to Gobi Desert via Trans-Altai Mountains [4]. Therefore, argali sheep is spreading more to the eastern side of the Mongolia and western populations are getting fragmented due to poaching and competition with livestock [8]. The present study has investigated O. ammon Altai and Gobi population structure by mitochondrial control region hyper variable segment (HVS) and microsatellite markers to investigate genetic diversity and difference between those argali sheep populations. ...
... Argali sheep is classified as Endangered in Mongolian Red List of Mammals and hunting has been prohibited except for the annual quota of trophy hunting [8], [30]. Our results divided HVS haplotypes into two groups, Altai argali and Gobi argali. ...
... Another way is to encourage cooperation between rangers of Protected Areas (PAs) and local herders to improve their awareness about the negative impact of livestock overpopulation on argali sheep reservation. Moreover, Altai argali is vulnerable to poaching due to ram's huge size [8]. ...
Article
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Argali sheep is an ungulate, which inhabits the north, west, south and central regions of Mongolia. There are two major populations (Altai and Gobi) in Mongolia, but their taxonomic classification as subspecies is often disputed among researchers. Furthermore, there is no recent study about the population genetic structure of argali sheep in Mongolia. In the present study, we have investigated genetic diversity and difference between Altai and Gobi argali populations using mitochondrial control region hyper variable segment (HVS) sequence (598bp) and 3 microsatellite markers. Mitochondrial HVS haplotype analysis showed high haplotype diversity (0.982±0.012) and low nucleotide diversity (0.02589). In microsatellite analysis, total of 9 alleles were found across all loci while mean Ho were 0.59±0.13 for Altai and 0.53±0.1 for Gobi populations, indicating low allelic diversity with moderate heterozygosity. Neighbor-joining tree separated haplotypes into two clusters, Altai and Gobi population, implying distinct genetic difference between the two subspecies. Additionally, Pairwise FST and Kimura-2 parameter showed 0.127 and 0.0413±0.0068, respectively. These genetic distance analyses hinted genetic difference between Altai and Gobi populations are in subspecies level. In summary, mitochondrial HVS and microsatellite analysis demonstrated that Altai and Gobi populations had low genetic diversity but might be genetically distinct from each other in subspecies level, suggesting conservation should be separately managed.
... Mongolia supports relatively large populations of argali sheep (Ovis ammon) and Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), the preferred prey of snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in that country. Although the Mongolian Law on Fauna of 2000 prohibits general hunting of both species, labeling argali as Very Rare (i.e., endangered) and ibex as Rare (i.e., vulnerable or threatened), the Mongolian Hunting Law of 2000 permits limited trophy hunting using special use permits issued by the Mongolian Ministry for Nature, Tourism, and Green Development (hereafter Ministry) and its precursors (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002;Wingard and Odgerel, 2001). Foreign hunters pay high fees for both species, but especially argali, because of their impressive size and large horns. ...
... Sustainable hunting programs require wellmanaged populations and local support, ideally with money generated from the hunting going back to conservation management and to benefit local communities (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002;Harris, 1995;Harris and Pletscher, 2002;Shackleton, 2001;Wegge, 1997). We, and others, believe that the best approach entails developing community-based programs with external review and a high level of transparency (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002). ...
... Sustainable hunting programs require wellmanaged populations and local support, ideally with money generated from the hunting going back to conservation management and to benefit local communities (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002;Harris, 1995;Harris and Pletscher, 2002;Shackleton, 2001;Wegge, 1997). We, and others, believe that the best approach entails developing community-based programs with external review and a high level of transparency (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002). ...
... Th is is a 92 percent decline in only 18 years. Government fi gures estimated 50,000 argali (Ovis ammon) in Mongolia in 1975, but only 13,000 to 15,000 in 2001 (Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002). Th is is a 75 percent decline in just 16 years. ...
... Finally, despite laws for investment of trophy hunting fees back into conservation of the resource, current practices deny local communities and conservation eff orts the legal benefi t of revenues (Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002, Wingard andErdene-Ochir 2004). As a result, some local offi cials are working to eliminate trophy hunting from their territories (Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002 were given to companies that hunted previously) and others acquire licenses simply as a speculative venture, reselling them to more experienced companies for a quick profi t (Anonymous 2002, Kherlen 2002. Th is activity highlights the need to include restrictions on the transferability of trophy hunting licenses and criteria for selecting professional hunting companies. ...
... In the wildlife trade survey, however, the number of hunters who admitted taking argali was low (4 of 949, <1 percent) with a mean harvest of 1.3 and a maximum harvest by one individual of 20. Anecdotal information collected during the wildlife trade study and reports by many respondents suggest that poaching is common throughout the country, with game meat a primary motivator but also the sale of argali horns and mounted trophies to markets in China (Institute of Biology 2001, Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002, Maroney 2003, Wingard 2005. ...
Technical Report
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Silent Steppe is the product of the Environment and Social Development unit in the East Asia and Pacific region of the World Bank in a series of activities by the Bank and our development partners to understand the driving forces of wildlife trade, its scale and operation, and to identify successful solutions to address illegal trade. A previous publication—Going, Going ... Gone: The Illegal Trade in Wildlife in East and Southeast Asia—summarized key concerns in the region, and a recently launched sub-regional study— coordinated by TRAFFIC International—is exploring the economic and social drivers of illegal trade. More broadly, this work is linked with the World Bank’s concern about the adverse impacts of weak governance on the management of natural resources, identified as a key issue in the Environment Strategy for the East Asia and Pacific Region.
... The Altai argali sheep is currently classified as Endangered following International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria, and populations are highly fragmented across the country 47 . The situation is exacerbated by poorly regulated 'hunting tourism' and an opaque permitting system 48,49 . In 2019, Donald Trump, Jr. was widely criticized for a trip to the study region in which two argali sheep were hunted and exported using a permit that was not issued until after the hunt was completed 50 . ...
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The transition from hunting to herding transformed the cold, arid steppes of Mongolia and Eastern Eurasia into a key social and economic center of the ancient world, but a fragmentary archaeological record limits our understanding of the subsistence base for early pastoral societies in this key region. Organic material preserved in high mountain ice provides rare snapshots into the use of alpine and high altitude zones, which played a central role in the emergence of East Asian pastoralism. Here, we present the results of the first archaeological survey of melting ice margins in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia, revealing a near-continuous record of more than 3500 years of human activity. Osteology, radiocarbon dating, and collagen fingerprinting analysis of wooden projectiles, animal bone, and other artifacts indicate that big-game hunting and exploitation of alpine ice played a significant role during the emergence of mobile pastoralism in the Altai, and remained a core element of pastoral adaptation into the modern era. Extensive ice melting and loss of wildlife in the study area over recent decades, driven by a warming climate, poaching, and poorly regulated hunting, presents an urgent threat to the future viability of herding lifeways and the archaeological record of hunting in montane zones.
... The species is classifi ed as IUCN Endangered in the Mongolian Red List of Mammals, and Very Rare under the Mongolian Law on Fauna and declines have been due to several factors including poaching, livestock competition, and habitat loss, conversion and degradation (Wingard & Odgerel, 2001;Clark et al., 2006a;Clark et al., 2006b). The decline of argali is a concern as the species provides valuable ecosystem services to local people and foreign visitors (e.g., hunters and tourists) and may exert large functional roles in steppe ecosystems (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002;Fedosenko & Blank, 2005;Reading et al., 2005;Surenjav & Flores, 2015;Sarmento & Reading, 2016;Murdoch et al., 2017). Argali ranging behavior and the relative infl uence of habitats in shaping distribution have been studied (Reading et al., 2003;Reading et al., 2005;Ekernas et al., 2017;Murdoch et al., 2017). ...
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Understanding how animals move through a landscape can reveal corridors or narrow paths of movement that connect discrete parts of a landscape. Identifying corridors can be important for planning conservation activities, especially for threatened species. We synthesized information on the ranging behavior and distribution of argali sheep to quantify linkages and potential pinch points of movement between critical resources in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia. We used a cost-weighted distance approach to quantify the relative cost of movement between water sources (springs), which represent critical resources. We used values to map a corridor of movement and examined movement fl ow through the corridor using a circuit theory approach. We identifi ed a corridor connecting all springs that covered 50.6 km 2. Most of the corridor overlapped the reserve (77%) and reserve's core area (62%). A least-cost path between the furthest separated springs (18 km) was 26.4 km. Most movement fl ow through the corridor concentrated around springs, especially those in the southern and central portions of the corridor. The analysis also revealed several pinch points that represent a conservation concern.
... Argali have experienced countrywide population declines since the early 1990s and are classified as Endangered in the country (Clark et al., 2006). Despite their status, argali can be legally hunted, providing a service to a small number of hunters seeking trophies (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002). Argali also draw tourists seeking an opportunity to see and experience the species . ...
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Cultural ecosystem services, such as the enjoyment and satisfaction of viewing a species in the wild, are often underrepresented in conservation planning. Understanding the spatial distribution of wildlife-related services can inform management, which is especially important for declining species. We examined how natural and human features of a landscape influence the distribution of argali sheep in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia, a popular destination for tourists seeking the opportunity to see and experience this declining species. We collected 1999 argali locations from 2009 to 2011 and developed an occupancy model for each season and across seasons. Occupancy probability equates to the chance of seeing the species, and provides a measure that not only describes the distribution of argali, but also the cultural service they provide. We developed a set of 67 candidate models and the top-ranking model each season and across seasons was the interaction of proximity to water and proportion of rocky outcrop at a site. Argali occupancy increased as distance to water decreased and amount of rocky outcrop increased. The simulated removal of water sources resulted in a 98% loss in landscape quality. Our results provide among the first occupancy models for argali, which can inform decision-making at multiple spatial scales. They also reveal the importance of water sources, which are intensively used by people and livestock, and indicate that careful management of these resources will be important to sustaining argali in the landscape.
... Our interdisciplinary study of Argali sheep is beginning to yield results with important implications to the conservation management of the species in Mongolia and likely throughout its range (Amgalanbaatar et al., 2002; Reading et al., 2003; Tserenbataa et al., 2004). Additional findings presented here continue to refine our understanding of Argali ecology and our continued research promises to further enhance our understanding of the species in the future. ...
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Argali sheep (Ovis ammon) are listed as threatened in both Mongolia and internationally. Yet, little is known about the biology and ecology of this species. Available data suggests that Argali in Mongolia are declining due to direct poaching and competition with domestic livestock. We initiated several research projects to better understand and conserve the species. In this report we discuss Argali ecology using radio telemetry. We captured and radio-collared 36 Argali using drive-nets, lamb captures, and dating from 2000–2004. Fifteen collared animals have died: 2 due to capture techniques, 8 from predation, 1 from starvation and exposure, 1 from disease, 1 due to maternal neglect, and 2 of unknown causes. In addition, 1 collar ceased working and 4 others dropped off prematurely. We have collected more than 1,040 locations through mid-May 2004. The majority of the Argali were captured in the northern portion of Ikh Nart. Animals have primarily restricted their movements to that area and have not exhibited seasonal movement patterns. Mean home range size for 17 animals with sufficient data (> 45 days with locations) was 57±3.7 km2 (range = 30– 80 km2) using the 100% minimum convex polygon method, with areas of predicted occurrence of 76±5.3km2 for 95% kernel, 32±3.7 km2 for 75% kernel, 11±1.6 km2 for 50% kernel, and 3.8±0.5 km2 for 25% home ranges. Predation was the main cause (72.7%) of mortality in the collared animals for which cause of death could be determined (non-study related).
... At the time scientists suggested that only about 11 million ha, or 7% of Mongolia's land area, was degraded. However, following the rapid rise in livestock numbers during the 1990s and the past decade (Fig. 1), land degradation and desertification expanded, especially in the more marginal desert-steppe and desert regions (UNDP 2000;MNE 2001;Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002;Ykhanbai et al. 2004). In 2001 government officials reported that >70% of Mongolia was at least marginally degraded and 7% was seriously degraded (UNDP 2000;MNE 2001), although a World Bank report (2003) disputed these figures. ...
Chapter
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