Pakistan develops required legislation to protect its diverse wildlife: speakers


ISLAMABAD: The participants of a conference on Monday said Pakistan has developed the required legislation to protect and safeguard the country’s diverse wildlife and invaluable resources.

However, many of charismatic species continue to decline or even have gone extinct in the face of these measures.

This questions the management policies, and there was a growing consensus that conservation policies should be based on applied research, they added.

The speakers were addressing a symposium, “The Role of Science in Wildlife Management” organized by the Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.

The aim of the symposium was to realise the challenges in the management of wildlife in Pakistan and the potential role that a scientific community could play.

While addressing the inaugural session Prof Dr Muhammad Ali, Vice Chancellor, Quaid-e-Azam University said biodiversity was under assault globally due to the population growth and ever-increasing use of natural resources.

The species extinction rate has greatly increased in recent decades, largely due to unsustainable human developments.

He urged the youth to play a role in wildlife conservation efforts as they have a responsibility to deliver a better world to future generations.

He also lauded the efforts of the organizers for providing students an important opportunity to learn about such an important issue.

During the technical session, Dr Orjan Johansson, Grimso Wildlife Institute, Sweden, shared the findings on “Snow leopard prey selection of ibex”.

He discussed environmental and behavioral factors that influence predator-prey relationships.

He also shared wildlife captures, developing more efficient and animal-friendly capture techniques.

Dr Byron Weckworth, from the University of Montana, delivered a talk on “Conservation Genetics in Practice” and shed light on a wide spectrum of ecological and evolutionary questions pertinent to successful conservation.

Taking the example of a wolf he elaborated on applications of genetics in answering various ecological questions.

His research experience has involved fieldwork across a variety of ecosystems from North Carolina swamps to the high alpine regions of Asia, on an equally varied number of species, including wolves, black bears, caribou, moose, and snow leopards.

Dr Byron Weckworth was of the view that rigorous scientific research should be accessible and applicable to the people and partner organizations that have the influence to impact the conservation of wild cats.

Dr Chris Sutherland, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, USA, joined the audience through Skype.

In a detailed presentation on the topic, “The Promise of Spatial Capture-Recapture” he explained that how large-scale biological patterns could be explained by an understanding of how and why organisms use space at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Dr Muhammad Ali Nawaz the chief organizer of the symposium from the Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University shared his research work and recommendation in the talk “Monitoring of Large carnivores in Pakistan-lessons learned.”

Dr Ali is currently focusing on understanding ecology, co-existence, and conservation issues of the carnivore community in northern Pakistan.

The students of Quaidian Dramatic Club (QDC) also presented a play and beautifully highlighted the dynamic relationship between the human and wildlife conservation efforts.