A married couple of American tourists in the southeastern province of Adıyaman hunted two mountain goats, animals that are considered sacred in the Alevi faith, which majority of the local population adhere to.
Turkey’s Natural Preservation and National Parks Directorate gives out hunting permits seasonally for mountain goats that are older than eight and had set a limit of 30 goats for the current season, which ends March 31.
Having obtained their permits and practiced at the Sincik Hunting Grounds, Emieblcek Harris shot and killed an 11-year-old mountain goat with 130-centimeter-long horns while her husband hunted down a goat with 118-centimeter-long horns.
A beloved species
While the illegal hunting of mountain goats is fined with 26,000 Turkish Lira (about $4,500), some 19 goats were hunted down legally in December 2019.
The hunting of the sacred mountain goats have been protested for years in the eastern province of Dersim, home to Munzur National Park where hundreds of indigenous species are thought to live.
In December of 2018, the Dersim Bar Association had made an official complaint to the local public prosecutor about a group of foreign visitors who were hunting the sacred mountain goats as well as wild boars.
Journalist Sevim Kahraman and Dersim local Özkan Ulucan made a documentary in 2019 about the mountain goats, depicting local elders call the animal the “goats of Khidr,” a saint-like Islamic figure.