It is clear that we need to develop some sense of wisdom about the wildlife in our country to prevent it from disappearing altogether from our lives. The fact that so many animals are hunted or poached means that there is a real threat that they will become extinct, robbing us off a form of life which can never be replaced.
According to a report from Quetta, the footprints of two leopards were recently spotted by local villagers in the Takato range towards the north of Quetta during the recent snowfall in the area. The leopards are believed to have migrated from the border of Afghanistan and local people say that they also attacked a goat in a village. A few years ago, a black leopard was reportedly spotted in the Chilton range. Wildlife experts working in the area for the conservation of the animals fear that the leopard may be hunted down and killed. They point out that poaching and hunting — sometimes abetted by the local Wildlife Department officials — is common. Many kinds of animals have suffered as a result. In 2000, only eight to 10 markhors remained in the region. By 2012 their number had risen to 300 thanks to efforts by NGOs.
But the risk to animals of all kinds still remains. It is reported that influential persons are allowed to hunt endangered species in return no doubt for money, and at times certificates are issued to them stating that the markhor they killed had been found dead in the mountains. Leopards would of course be a ‘valued’ trophy for some. There is, therefore, a need to ensure that that those who have ventured into the Takato range, presumably in search of food, are protected. Similar problems of course exist across the country. The press recently reported the killings of Himalayan Black Bears by army helicopters firing on them presumably for ‘fun’. The notion that the hunting of endangered species is acceptable must be eradicated. Unless this happens the threat to animal life everywhere in the country will continue to grow. We have already lost too many species with numbers falling rapidly. We must do more to save those that still remain.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2012.
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