Mountain goat population on the rise

July 17, 2008, Thursday/ 19:31:00
Mersin province's once endangered and subsequently protected mountain goats have increased in number, the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Mersin branch has said.The national parks branch operating under Mersin's Environment and Forestry Ministry began counting the number of the endangered mountain goats last week. While 3,700 goats were found in five protected areas last year, the number exceeded 2,000 this year in two regions alone. Considering the total number of the goats in the Cehennemdere and Kestel areas, officials expect last year's figures to be surpassed once counting is complete in the remaining three regions. Environment and Forestry Provincial Director Hasan Saday said the quota for hunting, a significant source of income in the region, will also be determined according to the result of the inventory.

Last year, authorities allowed international hunters to hunt 37 mountain goats, Saday said, bringing in YTL 100,000 into villages that are within areas designated as protected. Saday also noted that a mountain goat brings in $25,000, making hunting tourism during the hunting season an income-generating sector for the region. Serin Şen, a local who makes a living guiding foreign hunters, said many hunters come to the region from countries like Australia, the US and Bulgaria and noted that foreign hunters are allowed to hunt for 10 days and local hunters for five.

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