Bozeman, Montana. January 27, 2022. - The Wild Sheep Foundation established a new award in 2022 named the "Argali Conservation Achievement Award". It was developed to recognize an individual or organization who has contributed substantially to Argali conservation. It requires the recipient(s) be a citizen of one the Argali range states and to have significantly contributed to conservation of this species.
The first recipient of this award, announced at this past Sheep Week® convention in Reno, Nevada is His Excellency Rustami Emomali, mayor of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. His Excellency Rustami Emomali is also the founder of the Association of Hunters of Tajikistan. Because of his dedication to conservation, Tajikistan now holds at least 25,000 Argali, 4000 markhor and 4,000 Bukharan Urial.
Oxus Holding of Tajikistan sent a letter of nomination for an award listing actions and accomplishments he has been directly involved with in Tajikistan Argali conservation. The impetus for creating this award was based on this outstanding nomination. Contributions from His Excellency Rustami Emomali include:
• As a deputy head of the Tajikistan Youth Union, he was the key player in promoting outdoor education, conservation, and nature friendly hunting.
• Founded the Association of Hunters of Tajikistan, playing a historic role in the conservation of game species in Tajikistan, greatly reducing poaching.
• Played an essential role in legalizing international conservation and sustainable hunting in Tajikistan.
• Promoted a new 2011 law that promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable management of game species that led to establishment in Tajikistan of several dozen conservancies and concessions, thereby establishing an effective conservation network.
• Led Tajikistan in becoming a member of CITES, enabling and regulating sustainable trade of wild sheep and goats with the European Union, USA and Canada.
• In the last 5 years, His Excellency Rustami Emomali established the Khutalon, one of the largest conservation zones in Tajikistan, which now holds the largest Bukharan urial population.
His Excellency Rustami Emomali was presented this award, in absentia, during the Wild Sheep Foundation Sheep Week® Conservation Night, held January 13, 2022. The Wild Sheep Foundation Board of Directors, Conservation Committee and Conservation Staff congratulate His Excellency Rustami Emomali for being the first recipient of this award and for his outstanding contributions to Argali conservation in Tajikistan. His Excellency Rustami Emomali is a true hunter conservationist and Tajikistan patriot.
The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), based in Bozeman, Mont., was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. With a membership of more than 8,500 worldwide, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep and other mountain wildlife and their habitats. WSF has raised and expended more than $135 million on wild sheep habitat and population enhancements, education, and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe, and Asia to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain”®. These and other efforts have increased bighorn sheep populations in North America from historic lows in the 1950-60s of 25,000 to more than 85,000 today. www.wildsheepfoundation.org.