Govt asked to strengthen wildlife dept

CHITRAL, June 21: The district of Chitral should be divided into four wildlife divisions to promote biodiversity and preserve different species of animals and birds, said experts and workers of different conservation organisations. They said Chitral was the richest district of the province in terms of biodiversity but it remained unexploited owing to paucity of finances. “The district spreads over 14,850 square kilometres but the wildlife department has only 56 workers,” Rahmat Alam, a biodiversity specialist, told this correspondent. He said the district had different varieties of wildlife out of which many were endangered species while it also provided green route to the migratory birds. Mr Alam said owing to shortage of staff, the presence of wildlife department was quite nominal and poaching continued unchecked in the area, causing extinction of a number of mammals and birds. He said that several species of mammals and birds would become extinct within the next couple of decades if solid steps were not taken for their preservation. Hashmat Ali, a conservation worker, said that wildlife had a great scope in the area as it could boost ecotourism in the area. “Tourists evince great interest in watching a Kashmir Markhor, snow leopard and snow partridge in their natural habitat,” he added. He said that to preserve and promote wildlife in the district, it must be divided into four wildlife divisions that would be supervised by a circle office, headed by a conservator. Presently, Chitral is a wildlife division of Swat circle with its office in Mingora. “Chitral is richer than Swat or any part of Malakand division in wildlife and it must be given a due place in the administration of wildlife,” he said and added that Chitral should be upgraded as a wildlife circle. Mr Ali alleged that no government in the past gave importance to wildlife department in Chitral. “It continues to be neglected,” he added. The provincial finance department reportedly disapproved the proposed schedule of new expenditure of Chitral wildlife division, seeking creation of new posts in the department, he said. He said that Chitral was the single district having two national parks but their better management was possible only if the department was strengthened.–Zahiruddin    ]]>

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