DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A fire broke out at the Sheikh Badin National Park two days ago which has not been put out as yet.
The park is located on a hill 60 kilometers north of D I Khan. Although the cause of the fire has not been determined yet, locals say it has destroyed a dense forest of olive and almond trees besides killing wildlife like brown wolves and indigenous fowl like pheasants. According to these locals, no attention has been paid to the incident by either the provincial government or the wildlife department.
Wildlife is already on the verge of extinction in D I Khan where the International Union for Conservation and Nature, the United Nations Development Program and Organisation for Rural Development and Research (ORDR) have already made efforts to secure the endangered species. "We all are saddened to learn about the fire...it should not have happened," said Safdar Abbas Qureshi, project director of the ORDR. Sheikh Badin National Park is located at an altitude of 4,100 meters above sea-level and stretches over thousands of acres.
D I Khan is the getaway to Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa for the tourists entering from Balochistan and Punjab. Majority of the tourists travelling on motorbikes enter from the western border and follow this route to Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa. A multi-million-rupee chairlift project for this park has been approved for this park by the federal minister for tourism. However due to the fire, endangered wildlife species and tourism activities are at to risk due to the ignorance of the concerned authorities in dealing with the current situation.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 26th, 2010.
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