By Giorgi Lomsadze
If you're on a hunting trip in Georgia and happen to kill the last animal of its kind in the country, no need to worry. Just make sure to pay for the license and the fee for each kill, and you can go wild massacring any unfortunate animal you bump into, endangered though it may be.
Desperate to attract tourists, Georgia has decided to allow the hunting of animals listed on the country’s Red List of protected species. Some critics think the controversial decision is another manifestation of the Georgian government’s obsession with deregulation and money-making.
When environmentalists look at the tur, for instance, they say they see a beautiful mountain goat antelope found (decreasingly) only in the west of the Caucasus, but economic development ministry officials, they claim, see thousands of lari they can charge for its killing.
Georgia’s environment minister has tried to convince journalists that the rare animals can be killed for their own good, and that the new rules will introduce order into the hunting sector and somehow help reduce poaching.
“A revolutionary government takes revolutionary decisions to find solutions,” preached Environment Minister Goga Khachidze to a journalist who pressed him about why the government had given the green flag to hunting endangered animals without first estimating the size of their population.
“I am not an idiot,” Khachidze added, in an attempt to reassure the unconvinced audience. The decision, he claimed, was not made on the fly and population estimates will be made in the future. More....