One of the great conservation success stories of the modern era is the Bukharan Markhor in Tajikistan. The communities of Tajikistan borrowed and improved upon conservation ideals from Africa and neighboring Pakistan to try sport hunting as a conservation tool because telling local communities "don't shoot them" wasn't working. The idea didn't just help the population of markhor thrive and swell to numbers not seen in generations, but it's also had an immense impact on expanding the snow leopard population as well. See how in my write up below. •
With numbers dwindling to a handful of markhor in small fragmented areas, the future of the Bukaharan markhor was in serious trouble. Realizing something had to be done, people put what was at the time a controversial plan in action. Basing the conservation plan around funds derived from hunting (borrowing ideas from Pakistan's successful markhor projects and conservation programs in Africa), scientists decided to set aside hunting reserves for markhor, with the idea being that bringing markhor value would increase their numbers while simultaneously increasing the number of snow leopards the areas could sustain. More markhor meant a larger prey base for the snow leopards. The project was started in several areas of Tajikistan, and limited tags were auctioned off. 50% of the tag price goes directly to the community (amounting to roughly $60,000-$70,000 per animal). Because of their value, the locals have virtually ceased poaching them for competing with their livestock as they're now seen as a huge source of revenue. The funds allow for anti-poaching teams as well, and the rangers regular rounds of the hunting areas have drastically reduced any remaining illegal poaching. The total number of legal permits sold in Tajikistan is 7, and the number of markhor has grown from a few hundred in 2008 to over 1,800 today. Additionally, the number of snow leopards has increased exponentially as well (the leopards are not hunted) as the locals have been educated as to why they need the leopards. This is a prime example of how hunting and conservation go hand in hand.