.. by Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
On 19th August, a three-member expedition of Georgian climbers reached Zondrangram with an NOC and permit from the authorities concerned. They left for the base camp the next morning and set up their tents with Irshad as a tourist guide and Mr. Hayat as cook. They had hired 30 porters from Zondrangram.
The climbers had also purchased a goat at Zondrangram for their kitchen which they kept at the pasture around the camp at Khotgaz in the Roshgol valley of Terich. For a couple of days, they grazed the goat and planned to slaughter it a few days later. One of them was vegetarian but the others wanted to eat it in case of fresh supply stopped.
That higher region of the valley is haunted by poachers but in the presence of the climbers in the area the poachers did not dare to approach in daytime but they knew about the presence of the goat in that particular camp.
One night, some poachers reached the camp at the wee hours of the night and untied the goat which strayed out and the guys at the camp in their tents. They were fast asleep so the goat left the camp and the poachers led it down the valley. In the morning, the residents of the base camp found the goat missing and started their search throughout the day. The next morning, the runner of the expedition left for down valley to search the goat and bring some fresh supplies.
At the summer hut called Shugan, he asked about the missing goat and was informed that it had come to Shugan after the poachers and then went down the valley.
The runner walked down from Shugan Ghari and found the footprints of the goat on the trail and followed it till he reached Lasht village. There he asked children about any single goat and was told that the particular goat had reached the hamlet led by one of the villagers (the true poacher).
One of the porters who had gone to the base camp with the climbers saw the goat and identified it that it is the one which had been driven up by the porters along with the climbers.
The same porter searched for the goat, caught it and carried it to his cattle fold to hand over it back to the climbers. Then, the man went to sit in his shop in the Bazar but when he came back in the afternoon he inquired about the goat and was told that the above mentioned poacher had forcibly entered the fold and driven out the goat to his own cattle fold.
The above mentioned porter scolded his sister for that laziness and told her to go to the poacher’s house and fetch it but she was told by the poacher another story that he had handed it over to the family of the cook of the team. But after further inquiry, it turned out that the goat had been driven to another fold which belonged to another co-poacher. The news spread in the village and many children had seen the goat being driven by the said poacher.
Meanwhile, the runner of the team reached the village and the goat was retrieved from the fold and he slaughtered the goat, kept all the mutton in his fridge for freezing to be carried to the climbers on a need basis.
The poacher belonging to Lasht Zondrangram hatched this plot and did his best to steal the goat of the Georgian expedition. This man has been implicated in attacking staff of Snow Leopard Foundation. He also allegedly bribed wildlife watchers to stop Booni-based local tourists from going to the Roshgol valley as it was against his interests – poaching ibex.
The ibex flock in the Roshgol valley of Terich is under frequent poaching by the hunting mafia. The ibex population is in great danger and the mafia is in league with a particular wildlife watcher. The chief of the poachers has to be kept under control by the district administration.
As president of the local chapter of the prestigious Alpine Club of Pakistan, I have the duty to make the movement of all adventure tourists as smooth and convenient as possible. .. Prof Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 09 Sep 2021