US hunter pays $163,000 to kill rare Pakistani mountain goat

A man stands over a deceased goat, smiling.
Photo credit: Mayo Hunter / YouTube

An American hunter is under fire for paying US$110,000 (NZ$163,000) to shoot a rare Pakistani mountain goat.

Video from the hunt shows Bryan Kinsel Harlan shooting the wild Astore markhor and then dragging it onto a rocky outcrop to pose for a photo.

"It was an easy and close shot. I am pleased to take this trophy," he said, according to The Washington Post.

There was immediate reaction to the photos on social media, with many questioning why hunting the animal was legal in the first place.

But there's a reason Mr Harlan was allowed to shoot the goat.

Pakistan banned all local hunting of the goats in 2011, but allowed tourists to shoot 12 male goats per season in "community conservation areas".

The rationale is because the funds raised are distributed to poor residents in the goats' habitat, to prevent them from poaching the goats.

"This is not just about hunting," guide Tabarak Ullah said in a telephone interview.

"The number of animals is increasing, and these foreign hunters are millionaires who go back and tell the world that Pakistan is safe."

The hunting tactic appears to be working, in 2015 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) reclassified the goats from endangered to "near-threatened".

The ICUN estimates there are just under 6000 mature Astore markhor worldwide, and the population is currently increasing.