Community support sought for snow leopard protection

CHITRAL: Speakers at a symposium here stressed the need for creating awareness among people about snow leopard so that their support could be enlisted in its conservation and protection.

The symposium was held at University of Chitral in collaboration with Snow Leopard Foundation, Pakistan and Pakistan Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme to mark International Snow Leopard Day.

“Innovative conservation education for enhanced tolerance and co-existence” was theme of the day.

Speakers from various circles of conservation and academia delivered lectures to highlight different aspects of snow leopard.

Dr Badshah Munir Bukhari, the project director of the university, who was chief guest on the occasion, said that the iconic wild animal had a momentous correlation with the local people and their culture.

He said that the Chitral was known as one of the major habitats of the beast in the foothold of Hindukush system of mountains that formed its ideal ecological zone where its population flourished in the past.

Ejazur Rehman, the area manager of Snow Leopard Foundation, briefed the audience about the conservation challenges faced by the elusive wild cat.

Prof Shah Fahad Ali Khan, chairman of zoology department of the university, made a presentation on biological and ecological aspects of snow leopard conservation while Sajid Khan of sociology department highlighted as to how snow leopard conservation could be linked with the socio-economic development of rural communities, particularly women.

Mohammad Idrees, the divisional forest officer, highlighted the efforts of wildlife division in protection and conservation of the wild cat.

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