KARACHI: Home to a large variety of birds, reptiles and mammals, Sindh plans to celebrate its wildlife diversity by featuring their specimen at the Sindh Wildlife Museum starting next month. The facility will open its doors after a hiatus of 28 years.
The museum, once a state-of-the-art institution housed in the Old Freemasons Lodge is located at Deen Mohammad Wafai Road. The six-month restoration work started in February and the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) plans to open it for the general public next month.
As of now, the final phase of placing the specimen on the display shelves is underway. Wildlife experts are placing the description tags of all species before the inauguration.
Owing to its rich wildlife diversity and geographical location, Sindh is home to a number of bird species. According to the provincial wildlife department, there are 322 bird species, 107 reptiles and 82 mammals native to Sindh.
Lack of expertise
Though the province is rich in terms of its inhabitants, it lacks technical expertise. With limited options available to it, the SWD sought the help of wildlife experts from Punjab.
“Sindh has more bird species than other provinces,” said Ali Hasnain, a wildlife management expert and lecturer at the Indus College, Rawalpindi. His observation was seconded by Aamer Naseer, the assistant curator at the museum and library of the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi. “The province has unique wildlife. It has beautiful wetlands. Migratory birds love to come here,” he explained.
Naseer and Hasnain, who recently arrived in Karachi for the first time, are providing the SWD with technical support for the restoration work of the museum so that the facility will help visitors understand the province’s unique wildlife.
According to the experts, Punjab has three wildlife museums - one each in Lahore, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur. “Museums bring people closer to nature and they understand the value of wildlife,” said Hasnain.
According to SWD officials, the United Nations Development Programme and Sindh Forest Management Project have financially supported the restoration project by providing Rs1.6 million. The restoration work, which started in February, will be completed in the first week of September.
The museum has four rooms and two huge corridors. According to Javed Ahmed Maher, the conservator of the SWD, his department planned to restore the SWM last year. He said that the same museum will be converted into the Sindh Museum of Natural History next year.
“We have the complete database of all our species,” Maher claimed. “But we don’t have all specimen,” he lamented, adding that the SWD officials will only preserve dead birds, reptiles and mammals. He said that presently, he has around 30 specimens of reptiles and around 300 birds’ specimen.
Explaining the purpose of the SWM, the conservator said that the primary objective was to preserve all Sindh’s wildlife animals and birds. “It aims to educate the younger generation. It will certainly help researchers understand the richness of our wildlife,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2019.