By Rolf Baldus

THE WINNER OF THE Peter Capstick Hunting Heritage Award for 2018 is Khalil Karimov from Tajikistan. He is one of the driving forces behind the Hunting & Conservation Alliance of Tajikistan (H&CAT), and behind the remarkable recovery of markhor, ibex, and snow leopards in the communal hunting conservancies in the Pamirs.

Khalil holds a degree in veterinary science from the University of Dushanbe. He has worked as a junior expert for the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany’s development aid organization. He was also a deputy-director of Panthera’s snow leopard conservation program in Tajikistan. Presently he is studying wildlife biology and game management at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences.

Since 2008, Khalil has enthusiastically and without personal financial gain, supported the creation of community-based game management areas that are protected by families or associations of local hunters. Revenues generated from guided hiking, game viewing, wildlife photography, and especially hunting, support the work of local rangers and nature guides. Any surplus revenue is invested into local development projects or goes back to the local people. This approach provides revenue to the stakeholders, motivates them to refrain from unsustainable poaching, and to protect the wildlife populations and the ecosystems they rely on. Well-regulated hunting is an important part of the conservation approach of H&CAT and its members, and hunting by international hunters is the main income earner for the communities. The hunts marketed by H&CAT on behalf of its members are in accordance with the principles of conservation, and in particular support sustainable quotas and fair and ethical hunting. This type of hunting minimizes the impact on population numbers, the demographic structure and genetics.

As a scientist, Khalil works at the Institute of Zoology at the Tajik Academy of Science, and has participated in many game counts in different countries. Although not hunting himself, he has accompanied a good number of hunting guests, and certainly qualifies as a professional hunter. He is also a proud youth member of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Management (CIC).

The Peter Hathaway Capstick Hunting Heritage Award was created by the Dallas Safari Club in 2004. It is named after the well-known American author of books on African hunting. Award criteria include active involvement in education, hunting, conservation, humanitarian causes and research. Several former recipients are Christiane Underberg from Germany, and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Management. rdb