In Pakistan the trophy hunting programme is being confused with illegal poaching, noted a meeting of the IUCN Member Organisations’ National Committee.
The meeting was chaired by Shahid Sayeed Khan, chief executive officer of NGO Indus Earth, on Saturday.
The members expressed concern over a news report that appeared in a section of the press that a Senate body had proposed a ban on trophy hunting.
The members were of the view that the case of the trophy hunting had not been presented to the senators in a transparent way and without substantive proofs, whereas the programme had been acknowledged as a great success in the recent World Conservation Congress held in Jeju, South Korea.
“It is the result of the programme that there is a significant increase in the number of threatened species in their natural habitats.”
The IUCN members’ committee supported the trophy hunting programme and unanimously decided to approach the Senate body with substantive examples of its successes.
Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Regional Director Asia, briefed the members about the population of vultures in South Asia. 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.
According to her, it is one of the fastest declining bird species in the world. It is 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 Laos and Cambodia.
Some members also proposed declaring the habitats of vultures in Tharparkar and Changa Manga as protected areas.
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 was still found, where Baanhn Beli was also based.”
He also acknowledged the efforts of the 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 was 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.
Those who attended the meeting included the representatives from the 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 Department, Khwendo Kor, Indus Earth Trust, Institute of Rural Management, Human Resource Development Network, WWF Pakistan and Haashar Association.
The members welcomed Malik Amin Aslam Khan as a newly elected IUCN Regional Councillor and thanked the outgoing Regional Councillor, Javed Jabbar who completed his two four-year terms as a Regional Councillor and the global IUCN Vice President.