Wild Sheep Foundation signs historic MOU with the Government of Mongolia
February 2, 2020
Bozeman, Montana. Feb. 3, 2020. During its annual Conservation and Hunting Expo, the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) today announced the joint signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Mongolia. Its purpose is to advance efforts in directing dedicated funding to new conservation programs in these countries for mountain sheep species and engaging local people in conservation efforts. Additionally, WSF and Safari Club International Foundation have signed similar MOUs with Kazakhstan and are close to finalizing a MOU with Tajikistan.
“Mongolia has a long history with hunting tourism, and Kazakhstan and Tajikistan want to expand their programs,” said Kurt Alt, Conservation Director and International Sheep & Goat Lead for WSF. “They know that wildlife valued by sportsmen translates into this wildlife having even more value to their people, creating a sense of local “ownership.” Under this new model, wildlife and people thrive. The key, however, is funding to support science-based conservation.”
These three Central Asian countries support as many as 10 differ subspecies of Argali ((Ovis ammon), several subspecies of Ibex (Capra sibirica) and one subspecies of Markhor (Capra falconeri). The success of North America’s state and provincial auction permits (conservation permits) that direct funding back to conserving and enhancing wild sheep and their habitat is the foundation for implementing a similar program in Central Asia.
“WSF is collaborating with these governments in the development of their sustainable use conservation programs,” Alt explained. “While not every aspect of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is exportable to other counties, reaping the rewards of a citizen involvement user-pay system–public and wildlife benefits model is possible. Building a science-based program funded by conservation permits under the umbrella of an MOU with governments that direct monies to wildlife populations and habitat and that engage and benefit local peoples is the picture of the perfect model in its own right.”
The MOUs provide a mechanism for reliable and transparent funding for monitoring of species, population and habitat enhancements, disease surveillance, public education, and anti-poaching efforts while benefiting local peoples.