CHITRAL: For the first time, predator-proof corral has been constructed in the pasture land of Unju valley, Upper Chitral, by Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF).
Snow leopard (Panthera Unica), classified as critically endangered species in Pakistan, is found in the Himalayan ranges in good numbers.
Efforts are being made by the Snow Leopard Foundation to protect and preserve this elusive cat.
Chitral has been blessed with very rich biodiversity and its conservation can be linked with the socioeconomic uplifting of the communities. There are several threats to the wildlife in Chitral, including retaliatory killings, shooting, poaching, poisoning, and most importantly the lack of awareness.
SLF has been successful in minimising the human-carnivore conflict by constructing a wonderful predator-proof corral in the Ujnu valley of Upper Chitral. This is a major effort to save the endangered species of the big cats.
The construction of predator-proof corral in the valley, going through the toughest mountainous areas with heavy metals on the shoulders, is a very clear example of the keen interest and steadfastness of the local community for the conservation of the wildlife.
This task had not been possible without the support of the locals and tireless efforts of Master Ghazi, a local conservationist, who has left no stone unturned in the construction of the corral.
The project will not only protect and preserve the snow leopards from the angry herders in retaliation to attacks on their cattle but will also safeguard villagers’ livestock from the predator.
The foundation is planning to construct similar projects in the Terich, Rech and other valleys where there are some traces of this big cat.
Amid threats to the survival of the wildlife in Chitral, time has come to be more wildlife-friendly by planting flowers and trees, by volunteering with the local societies in the restoration of native forests and grasslands.–Waseem Afzal