Rahmat Karim Baig

Global warming and migration of wildlife

Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

Generally spoken as climate change, the word has already become known to the public all over the world. The real cause of climate change is global warming due to greenhouse gases.

Because of modern technology the overuse of fossil fuel and coal in industries, which is very high in advanced countries but some input is also added by the underdeveloped countries in the shape of industries and vehicles.

The global arming has caused the rise in overall temperature and has led to the present situation, resulting in longer and high speed rains or vice versa. The disasters are before us and we cannot bring down the rising temperature at global scale as it is the outcome of many decades of unbridled use of the fuels mentioned above and now we are suffering-both poor and rich countries alike but the one can manage the losses but the others cannot due to meager resources.

As a result of this higher temperature in the alpine pastures and wildlife habitats, the changes are very much noticeable. Glaciers have been melting rapidly than 100 years ago and the volumes of the glaciers have diminished, form lakes in the cavities of the glaciers and then burst out in the shape of GLOFS. The other important change is the migration of wildlife to higher altitudes where they had never reached.

In the 70s, there were no minas in Upper Chitral but now a great number of them is living there and move up each year. Similarly, jackals never moved to Upper Chitral even 30 years back but now they have reached those distant valleys in large groups and cause damages to crops such as wheat, clover, potatoes etc.

At night, they come down to the settlements in search of food and then enjoy playing in the wheat fields, bring bones and half eaten corpses of thrown animals and damage it badly. They also search potatoes when it is sown and dig out the piece and eat it and thus the farmer has to resow it or the plot goes arid.

A recent development is the arrival of a predator, perhaps, lynx as it is believed by the locals, that it has gone deep into Rosh Gol valley of Terich and has so far eaten 15 (2-3 year old) cattle  in the pastures. The predator is said to be very fast with cubs and eats once from its kill and for self protection does not return to it and when hungry again, it prowls and finds another young cow and kills it.

It has also been seen that one big ibex and two medium ones have been eaten up with only the horns left as token of predation so far, but that is a routine and cycle of wild life subsistence but the loss of cattle is loss for the owners. It twice attacked the Gujoor’s pen living in the valley, and snatched away kids. The man could not dare to chase it. The arrival of predators in these far flung valleys, far away from their habitats, is a new development and a result of climate change.

The owners of the cattle are now patrolling the valley in groups to ensure the existence of their cows and bulls. It is a common feature of the region that cattle are left free in the pastures for about three months in summers without suffering such incidents.

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