Environment Minister Stresses to Conserve Wildlife of the Country

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Environment Samina Khalid Ghurki has said that Wildlife is beauty of the nature and all possible resources must be used for its conservation. National Council for Conservation of Wildlife (NCCW) should play its pro active role to manage the issues of wildlife throughout the country by implementing the related laws and policies. Special Initiatives should be taken for capacity building and Research in Wildlife sector. She expressed these views while chairing of the National Council for Conservation of Wildlife (NCCW) held here today.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary Environment Khawaja Muhammad Naeem, Inspector General (Forest) Syed Mehmood Nasir, D.I.G (Forest) Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani, members of the council including representatives of the Federal Ministries, All provinces, Capital Development Authority, NGOs and non-official members of the council.

The meeting reviewed the conservation status of the wildlife in the country and took important decisions on different issues. During the meeting it was observed that Houbara Bustard is a migratory bird that visits desert and semi-desert areas of Pakistan during winter, as a gesture of goodwill, special hunting permits are issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Arab dignitaries for its hunting. It was decided that Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allow temporary import/export of falcons, two to three weeks before the arrival of visiting dignitaries to avoid any misuse for unauthorized export of falcons and illegal hunting of Houbara Bustard.

Comprehensive discussion was made on wildlife trade policy in which views were exchanged on Ban on Commercial export of reptiles and mammals. It was observed that Federal Cabinet in 1999 decided to continue ban on commercial export of wild mammals and reptiles. Afterward, It was also decided that WWF-Pakistan and IUCN in collaboration with NCCW, will draft a comprehensive policy regarding their conservation, census, captive breeding and trade. It was observed that policy draft is under process and would be finalized in the month of September 2011 with consultation of all concerned organizations and NGOs. It was highlighted that in continuity of the ban, special concentration would be made to promote research activates and capacity building of the relevant manpower.

The issues relating to the Ban of import of Big Cats were also shared. It was mentioned that proper legislation must be made at zoo level. Their Registration methodology must be adopted. Issues of private zoos, personal collection of cats and their sale/purchase were also discussed. A subcommittee was constituted to review the draft guidelines about import of Big Cats who will submit its report in one week time. It was decided that strict implementation of set laws would be ensured to conserve these species. All representatives of the provinces gave inputs on the draft of the Wild Trade policy and regarding import of Big Cats. On this occasion, it was firmly decided that ban on the export of parrots will continue.

While debating on the trophy hunting program, the council allocated trophy hunting quota for the hunting session 2011-2012. Draft of trophy hunting guidelines and procedures, prepared by IUCN and WWF-Pakistan, was circulated among all provinces. It was decided that their suggestions about these guidelines would be shared in next meeting. This program was admired by all members of the council through which local communities would be able to get benefits for social uplift of their respective areas.

At the end Federal Minister for Environment said that holistic approach should be adopted for the conservation of wildlife by involving all related stakeholders. She urged on federal and provincial authorities to focus on research and capacity building sector, ensure the implementation on concern laws and regulations to avoid illegal activities in this sector. She said that we have to play collective and responsible role to conserve wildlife of the country. The Federal Minister further said that by increasing forestry area of the country, not only environmental issues would be managed but also a suitable environment would be available to the wildlife for their living and breeding.

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