ISLAMABAD: There are over 90 species of mammals, birds and reptiles categorised as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and near the threat of extinction in Pakistan, the Ministry of Climate Change told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Species that are at risk of or nearing extinction include 50 mammals, 27 birds and 17 reptiles, the ministry informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change during a briefing on measures taken to preserve endangered species in the country.

A brief prepared by the ministry revealed that all endangered wildlife species – mammals, birds and reptiles – are protected by provincial and territorial wildlife laws.

Critically endangered species include the Siberian crane, the white-rumped vulture, the long-billed vulture, the red-headed vulture and the hawksbill turtle. The Kashmir grey langur, Indus dolphin, finback whale, Balochistan bear, musk deer, hog deer, Indian pangolin, Egyptian vulture, green turtle and Indian narrow-headed turtle are endangered.

These species have been categorised as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable, ministry says

According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), the common leopard, snow leopard, Ladakh urial, greater spotted eagle, fish eagle, houbara bustard, crowned river turtle, Indian soft-shell turtle and many other mammals, birds and reptiles in Pakistan are ‘vulnerable’.

The national animal of Pakistan, the Markhor, is protected by local and international law such as Cites.

The ministry’s brief said that the trophy hunting of the Markhor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Azad Kashmir was a success story in Pakistan, as local communities conserve the animal and international hunters pay large sums for shooting licences.

Up to 80pc of the money from Markhor hunting permits is shared with the local community, which works to prevent illegal hunting of the animal.

The ministry claimed that the status of the snow leopard has also improved, and the species is now listed as vulnerable instead of endangered.

The snow leopard is found in various mountain ranges in 12 countries, including Pakistan.

The committee meeting also took notice of relatives accompanying government officials to international events.

The matter was raised by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Mussarat Zeb, who has been asked for a list of names and designations of delegates who travelled abroad for climate change events since last year.

The name of former climate change secretary Syed Abu Akif was mentioned, as he allegedly took his wife and his daughter to Paris when he travelled to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan said it was criminal that relatives were portrayed as official delegates to participate in international events.

“The committee must order an inquiry to point out such criminal acts and end this habitual exercise,” he said.

Committee chairman MNA Malik Mohammad Uzair Khan observed that a member who had not provided a list of delegates travelling abroad for the last year was disrespecting the committee.

He directed Climate Change Secretary Khizar Hayat Khan to submit the list as soon as possible.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018

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