US-American gets license to hunt rare mountain goats in Dersim

The Association for Dersim Studies reported that a “hunting tourist” from the USA has been granted a license to shoot down protected mountain goats, which are threatened with extinction. The population of the northern Kurdish province is alarmed.

A US citizen has been granted a license to hunt a mountain goat by the Turkish Environmental Protection Agency in the northern Kurdish province of Dersim. The trophy collector will be in the region around the village of Salördek in Pülümür between 7 and 13 December, the Association for Dersim Studies (DAM) announced. The population of Dersim is alarmed: mountain goats are considered sacred in the Alevi faith. They are also threatened with extinction.

In July, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had to withdraw a tender date for the hunting of seventeen of these animals in several areas of Dersim - after violent protests by animal welfare organizations and residents of the province. Now the authority is making a new attempt with the hunting lease to disregard the Bernese species protection agreement, which has also been ratified by Turkey.

Cruel hobby: trophy hunting

Trophy hunting is a particularly gruesome hobby that countless living beings pay with their death. In search of that special thrill, hobby hunters travel to distant lands to kill exotic and rare animals. The providers of hunting trips leave nothing to be desired, because, as the current case from Dersim shows, even shooting permits for endangered species can be obtained. The mating season for wild goats is between December and February. According to environmental activists from the region, illegal hunting trips to Dersim have often taken place in this period to try and kill as many animals as possible.

Name of the hunting tourist known

According to DAM, the US-American who wants to go goat hunting in Dersim by next Monday at the latest is Bradley Garrett Van Hoose. The people from the region are outraged and are calling on the authorities to reverse the licensing. The shooting of mountain goats is seen as a massacre of nature.

Former governor had banned hunting

In January 2019, after a massive wave of protests and a signature campaign, the hunting of wild animals was banned in Dersim. The ban was issued by the provincial governor at the time and included poaching of animals such as wild goats, lynxes, otters, brown bears, partridges, wolves and other species. Since the former governor Tuncay Sonel was transferred to another province, different rules apply.

Mountain goats sacred in the Alevi faith

Dersim is the region with the highest proportion of people of the Alevi faith. Alevism is a belief in a natural society, according to which the relationships between all living beings are based on mutual recognition and on a communal, solidary and sharing society. All peoples are equal regardless of their ethnicity and religion. Living beings, i.e. people, animals and plants, are considered sacred. The mountain goats enjoy a special status in Alevism, as they are revered as herd animals of the Prophet Xizir (Hızır). According to the Alevi doctrine of the faith, the brothers Xizir and Ilyas lived as prophets and drank the "water of immortality" to rush to the aid of those in need. According to belief, Xizir comes to the aid of those in need on land, while Ilyas comes to the aid of those at sea.