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CHITRAL: District nazim Maghfirat shah has called for exploiting the rich biodiversity of Chitral to boost eco-tourism.

Addressing a certificate distribution ceremony of wildlife department on the completion of a capacity-building training for its field staff, including watchers and rangers, he said the district was bestowed with rich biodiversity which could be used for doing away with poverty and unemployment.

Mr Shah said there were many countries whose economy derived its strength from tourism and natural resource management and Chitral district could also harness local resources to meet its development needs. He added that the district government was fully awakened to the situation as it had developed a vision to make its people prosperous through efficient management of natural resources.

Mr Shah appreciated the role of wildlife department in preventing the population of kashmir markhor, snow leopard and many decaying species of mammals and birds from becoming extinct in Chitral.

He asked the field staff to discharge their duties with full devotion as they were the custodians of the most precious asset and heritage of the nation in the form of wild animals.

He assured them of providing all facilities to safeguard themselves while protecting wild animals from poachers.

Earlier, the divisional forest officer, Chitral, Imtiaz Hussain said during the capacity building workshop, the field staff was educated about the recently enacted Wildlife and Biodiversity Act, 2015.

He said that the staff was also trained on different stages of prosecution as per the new laws so that the poachers of wild animals and those involved in inflicting loss on the biodiversity could not escape punishment.

He said the new set of laws had increased the field of duties and responsibilities of the wildlife department as previously it was only a wildlife act but now it covered biodiversity as well.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2016