Enactment of stricter laws for protection of wildlife and biodiversity and growing social awareness of the issue have resulted in a notable increase in the number of wild birds and animals. The Sindh Assembly enacted a new legislation in 2020 that criminalised trapping and selling of birds and animals replacing an old law that existed since 1972. The repealed law was ineffective as it prescribed no punishment for trapping and selling of wildlife. The new legislation puts a complete ban on trapping of wild animals and violators are to get two and a half years in prison with a minimum fine of Rs30,000. This law also provides protection to seasonal migratory birds and those wildlife species that enter Sindh from other places.
Identity of citizens who report violation of the law is not revealed, so now more and more people are coming forward to inform the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) cases of trapping and selling of wild animals and birds. This helped the department to rescue large numbers of animals. The new law is deterring people from trapping and selling wild animals, and this can be gauged from the fact that the SWD rescued only 25,000 wild animals last year whereas this figure in the preceding year was as high as 90,000. This is a drastic decrease and it has been achieved through effective enforcement of the relevant law. Periodic raids on bird and animal markets have proven effective in dissuading dealers from buying and selling wild species.
The provincial government has also achieved success in its endeavour to retain and increase the population of vultures, which act as scavengers of nature. Vultures clean carcasses of animals to the bone within minutes. The stench caused by carcasses left to rot in the open makes life unlivable for all living beings. In the mid-1990s, there was a drastic decline of the vulture population. Now their population has stabilised, but they are still a threatened species.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2021.
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