Mining in Nerdat Gol endangering wildlife

Snow leopard habitat management plan prepared

CHITRAL: Meant for the conservation of snow leopard in its habitat of Hindukush belt, a landscape management plan (LMP) was presented to stakeholders during a consultative workshop in Chitral.

The LMP is meant to salvage the large feline and its environment with increased participation of authorities and the communities playing their respective roles, according to officials.

The event was held by the Snow Leopard Foundation with the collaboration of the wildlife department and attended by officers of the forest, wildlife, agriculture and veterinary departments and representatives of village conservation committees.

The committee members shared their points about the LMP with other participants.

Presenting the LMP, former inspector general of forests Dr Mahmud Nasir said three landscape management plans funded by the Whitely Fund for Nature and designed by Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme had been formulated for Hindukush, Himalaya and Karakorum-Pamir regions based on their geography.

He highlighted the nature of threats to snow leopard and its associated biodiversity, including loss of habitat, direct killing of the wild cat, ineffectiveness of policy, awareness issues and emergency threats of climate change and development interventions in the habitat.

Dr Nasir said the LMP had a detailed list of activities to meet the objectives which included capacity building, awareness and advocacy, enforcement, reduce dependence on natural resources and staff strengthening.

He said the document delimited the vital zone known as core zones and multiple use areas and then follows the prime habitat units obtained through socio-ecological data.

“Zonation of the landscape has been outlined to delineation of priority wildlife areas, set up baseline for key flora and fauna and ascertain social fencing of the prime habitat units,” he said.

He also spoke about the approach towards characterizing the Hindukush landscape, composite habitat quality map of key species in the landscape, management zoning of the landscape as well as the management approach for the priority and multiple use areas as given in the plan.

Dr Nasir said landscape coordination committee would be formed under the leadership of the deputy commissioner and with members from all relevant departments and NGOs to put in place its governance structure.

The representatives of VCCs from Laspur, Torkhow, Terich, Golen, Koh, Lot Koh and Kalash valleys including women expressed their reservations and made suggestions about the LMP to be incorporated in the LMP before its final approval by the LCC, according to officials.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2023

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