IUCN’s body backs trophy hunting, concerned over declining vultures’ population in Pakistan
KARACHI: Environmentalists and wildlife experts have strongly reacted to a news item appeared in different newspapers, voicing their serious concern over ban on trophy hunting proposed by a Senate body.
Gathering at a meeting of the IUCN Member Organisations’ National Committee held here on December 20, they were of the view that the case of the trophy hunting has not been presented to the senators in a transparent way and without substantive proofs, whereas the programme has been acknowledged as a great success in the recent World Conservation Congress held in Jeju, South Korea.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Shahid Sayeed Khan, Chief Executive Officer of the Indus Earth, a national NGO, which was attended by the representatives of the NGOs and government agencies and institutions.
The participants noted that it was the outcome of the programme that there is a significant increase in a number of the threatened species in their natural habitats.
The Committee also took a notice that the trophy hunting programme has been confused with illegal poaching, which is a totally different matter.
The IUCN Members’ Committee strongly supported the trophy hunting programme and unanimously decided to approach the senate body with substantive examples of its successes.
Ms. Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Regional Director Asia briefed the members about the population of Vultures in South Aisa. She mentioned that about 20 years ago the estimated population of vultures in South Asia was around 100 million which has declined to approximately 20,000. She mentioned that it is one of the fastest declining bird species in the world. It is a remarkable specie that provides cleaning services free of cost. She observed that due to absence of vultures there has been a significant rise in diseases like rabies and anthrax in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India and rotting carcasses also pollute the ground water.
She mentioned that four regional countries Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal have signed an agreement at CBD COP-11 held in Hyderabad India for cooperation to work collectively for Vultures Rehabilitation. Later this initiative will be expanded to Lao and Cambodia. Some members also proposed for declaration of the habitats of Vultures in Tharparkar and Changa Manga as protected areas.
Mr Javed Jabbar said, “At the Vulture Programme in Hyderabad, India, it was stated that Nagarparkar is one of the only two places in Pakistan where vulture is still found where Baanhn Beli is also based. He also acknowledged the efforts of WWF and their vulture breeding programme in Changa Manga.
The NGO members expressed their concern on the ecological impacts of Zulfikarabad City Project on the vulnerable ecology of the Indus Delta. They unanimously agreed that there is need to have an authentic Environmental Impact Assessment on the project. The NGO members also expressed their deep concern over negative impacts of the Coal Exploration projects being carried out in district Tharparkar.
The representatives of the PNC members present in the meeting included: Ministry of Climate Change, Scientific and Cultural Society of Pakistan, H.E.J. Research Institute, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Baanhn Beli, SUNGI, Shirkat Gah, Taraqee Foundation, Sindh Forest and Wildlife Departure, Khwendo Kor, Indus Earth Trust, Institute of Rural Management, Human Resource Development Network, WWF Pakistan and Haashar Association.
The members welcomed Mr. Malik Amin Aslam Khan as a newly elected IUCN Regional Councillor and thanked the outgoing Regional Councillor, Mr. Javed Jabbar who completed his two 4-year terms as a Regional Councillor and the global IUCN Vice President.
In his welcome remarks Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Acting Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan welcomed Mr. Malik Amin Aslam as a new IUCN Regional Councillor and thanked Mr. Javed Jabbar for representing Pakistan in the global body and praised his voluntary services for the environment and humanity and his special role in the World Conservation Congress.
Mr. Cheema also welcomed Human Resource Development Network and Institute of Rural Management as new IUCN members and Mr. Shahid Sayed Khan hoped that addition of the new members will further strengthen the network of organizations that are working for the environment and sustainable development.