Keeping a check: Punjab govt takes measures to promote controlled hunting

Published: September 18, 2019
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The dwindling number of animal species has finally caught the attention of the provincial government.

In a bid to prevent the decline in biodiversity across Punjab, the administration has decided to take measures, which in the long run will reduce the impact of hunting and other human activities that damage the ecosystem.

Globally, once a species is at risk of extinction, government agencies responsible for the protection of wildlife and the environment, take steps to save it.

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In most cases, hunting bans are imposed to prevent further deterioration.

Taking a leaf out of the international rule book, the Punjab government has decided to enact laws that allow ‘controlled hunting across the province.

“Controlled hunting is an international practice that allows hunting on specific days. It prevents extinction in the long run,” said Badar Munir, Punjab Parks and Wildlife Protection Department Honorary Game Warden.

According to experts, decades of unregulated hunting and development have reduced wildlife to such a degree that it has prompted widespread alarm.

Munir believes laws that set hunting limits would help increase the depleted population of some species.

“The process of controlled hunting restricts hunting to specific days and also limits the number of animals and birds during each hunting exercise,” he added.

Trophy hunting, he said, was another way to prevent ecological damage.

“It only allows hunters to kill animals that have reached a certain age and cannot reproduce,” he said, adding that hunters pay a hefty price to hunt such animals. “The funds generated from the hunting exercise are reserved for the conservation of animal species and their habitats.”

Extinctions have become less dramatic but arguably more constant all over the world, mostly because of human activities, including development. Conservationists oppose the idea of trophy hunting and often protest against activities that harm the ecosystem.

Munir revealed Punjab had already lost its entire population of leopards. The Chinkara deer population had also reduced over the years.

Alarmed by the drastic reduction in wildlife, the province has invested in breeding centers that not only protect endangered animals but also prevent their numbers from plummeting further.

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Munir blames poaching, illegal hunting, an increase in the human population and the use of poisonous pesticides for transforming the natural landscapes.

According to a recent United Nations report, humans are responsible for putting a million animal species at the risk of extinction globally.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2019.

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