SCOPE slams government attitude towards biodiversity conservation


KARACHI – Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) – a non-governmental organisation working for conservation and protection of environment and wildlife – on Thursday demanded that the provincial and federal governments declare the threatened and endangered trees, shrubs, birds and animals of Thar Desert as national assets and ensure their protection.
SCOPE coordinator Bharumal Amrani said the trees of Thar Desert such as Gugral (Cammiphora mukal) and Kandi (Prosopis cineraria), and deer and peacocks are most important for biodiversity but massive tree cutting and hunting of birds and animals have put them on the verge of extinction.”Despite the listing of these species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, the government has not made any arrangements to protect these species,” said Amrani.
He said that a poster, published by Environment Ministry, Global Environment Facility and UNDP on celebrating 2010 as international biodiversity year, had declared seven trees of Pakistan including Katha (Acacia catechu), Sanober (Juniperus excelsa), Guggal (Commiphora wightii), Lahura (Tecomella Undulata), Phog (Calligonum polygonoides), Kandi (Prosopis cineraria and Peelu (Salvadora oleoides) as threatened.
“Out of these seven endangered species five are native to the Thar Desert,” said Amrani, adding that the blue peafowl – the identity of Thar Desert – is rare in the world and the Punjab government has declared it the provincial bird. However, in its actual habitat, this beautiful bird is dying and vanishing through illegal poaching, smuggling and diseases, he added.