To streamline the census of the wildlife population on scientific lines in Gilgit-Baltistan, at least two dozen wildlife guards and community representatives hailing from various valleys were trained to use modern equipment and wildlife survey techniques.
“Unless we train the forest department staff and local communities on the use of modern equipment and techniques, we will not know exactly what the population of endangered species like markhors, snow leopards, and brown bears in our mountains is,” Zahid Shah, a conservationist who facilitated the training workshop told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
An Italian expert, Anna Bocci, was the key resource person who delivered lectures and provided hands-on training at the two-day workshop organised by WWF at its Gilgit office.
The trainees were taken into the field to let them know of the use of equipment like GPS, spotting scopes, compasses and binoculars and other equipment which are considered vital for the collection of data on scientific lines.
“It was a good experience, as communities were quick to learn the techniques and use of equipment,” said Rehmat Ali, another trainer.
The trainees belonged to four valleys - Hunza, Nagar, Ghanche, and Skardu - falling in the jurisdiction of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP), the world’s highest national park. “The training was very useful and we hope it will help us when we are in the field,” said a trainee.
Parks and Wildlife Conservator Wilayat Noor, who was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony, stressed the need for collecting authentic data of different species, particularly those falling in the endangered category. “We can’t achieve our objective unless we have accurate information about various threatened wildlife species,” he said, assuring the NGO and the trainees of government support.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.
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There should be an ordinance and later passed as Bill by the Parliament for establishment of Wilderness Guards controlled by the Chief Conservator of Forests. Their responsibilty to protect both the animals and the natural environment against poaching and pollution. Experts can be called from number of countries with long term experience in the field.
For the first the WWF-Pakistan realized the importance of accurate field statistics besides the Awareness Programs. Because so for WWF-Pakistan mostly been active in awareness and never try to address the actual plight of the Wildlife on the rugged Moutains Lets hope for the better conservation of Wildlife in GB as well in rest of the Pakistan.
It seems that media wing of wwf is effective, good projection of what it is doing for people/officials. keep it up wwf.
In Sindh the training of wildlife guards was more once upon a time, but it is not heard of these days. it should be made compulsory on all the departments to formally do that.
Dear Athar, thanks for your comments and suggestions
WWF has always been taking lead role in organizing such trainings. Congratulations WWF providing this training to communities arround CKNP. I also propose WWF to consider trainings to communities / staff of relevant organization in vegetation surveys, like pasture assessments, medicinal plants and forest inventories.