Snow leopard preservation project launched in Chitral

CHITRAL, July 31: With the financial assistance of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a project has been launched for the conservation of snow leopard in central Chitral bordering the Chitral Gol National Park. leopardAddressing at the launching ceremony of the project held here on Wednesday, the director conservation of the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF), Hafeez Buzdar said the pastures of the six villages in the core area were known to be the habitats of the wild beast. He said that the livestock grazing in the pastures were the easy victims of the wild cat and the local people were prone to kill it in order to save their cattle. The project is working on this line so as to create an environment where the life of leopard is not endangered. “The two-pronged strategy of the project is conservation as well as research,” he said and added that for conservation purpose, the villages of Koghuzi, Barghuzi, Kuju, Bokhtuli, Parsan and Mori Payeen have been selected where economic activities will be started to compensate the farmers. “The livestock keepers will now take the leopard as their friend instead of foe when they are compensated in indirect manner and education is imparted to them about the environmental significance of the animal”, he said. “The vaccination of the livestock will be carried out, corrals will be constructed in the pastures to save the goats from being attacked by leopard and training on animal husbandry will be imparted”, Mr. Buzdar said. He said that the USAID support will of great help in meeting the real needs for a significant number of the poor herders, he said. Addressing on the occasion, the divisional forest officer of wildlife division, Imtiaz Hussain, said the snow leopard of prime importance in the ecosystem which caused a balance in the strength of different species of animals in the area. Divulging an interesting fact about the snow leopard, he said it attacked only the ailing goat in the herd and thus it was the friend not foe. He described the tools and methods of conservation of biodiversity in the past which worked well with the result that a complete balance existed in the system. Chairing the function, district education officer Nisar Ahmed Khan welcomed the decision to impart environmental education about snow leopard in the schools of the selected villages and assured his all out support to make it a success.–Zahirudin]]>

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