Climate change ministry launches survey of threatened wildlife species

Updated October 23, 2019

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The Ministry of Climate Change on Tuesday launched a survey for the first ‘Pakistan Red Data List’ of threatened wildlife species in the country. — Ministry of Climate Change Facebook
The Ministry of Climate Change on Tuesday launched a survey for the first ‘Pakistan Red Data List’ of threatened wildlife species in the country. — Ministry of Climate Change Facebook

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change on Tuesday launched a survey for the first ‘Pakistan Red Data List’ of threatened wildlife species in the country.

Lack of adequate data about the status of wildlife species and their habitats has remained a major hurdle to efforts for their conservation and protection in Pakistan.

“The ministry is now collaborating with the globally-recognised wildlife conservation organisations to prepare the first official Pakistan-specific Red Data List of the threatened and at risk of disappearing species in particular,” Ministry of Climate Change secretary Hassan Nasir Jami told mediapersons.

According to the official, the Pakistan Red Data List will be the most comprehensive inventory of the wildlife plants, animals and other organisms. Based on a scientific study acceptable worldwide, the red list will help guide and boost actions for conservation and protection of the wildlife, he said.

Experts to prepare First Pakistan-specific Red Data List of plant and animal species

The data collection for the red list would be based on precise criteria recognised and used globally to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies, the climate change secretary said.

Acting Inspector General Forest at the climate change ministry and team leader of Pakistan Red List Initiative Mohammad Suleman Khan Warraich said nearly 50 wildlife scientists and biodiversity experts, researchers, surveyors, university students from International Union for Conservation of Nature Pakistan (IUCN-Pakistan), World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF), Zoological Survey of Pakistan and Wildlife Conservation Society Pakistan had been engaged for the data collection.

They are visiting various parts of the country for the data survey of existing wild animals, plants and other organisms and threats to their survival, he said.

Mr Warraich said before sending the teams to the fields, capacity-building training was organised for them. They were trained on use of methodologies and appropriate survey tools and techniques for conducting accurate surveys of wild plants and animals.

“The red list will be a critical indicator of the health of the country’s biodiversity, which is beset with various risks to their sustainability. It will prove a powerful tool to inform and help decide action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources,” Mr Warraich highlighted.

“It will also provide information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions,” he added.

The government has been fighting off pressures from provinces to increase hunting quota from 12 permits to hunt Markhor to 20 and even more.

Mr Warraich told Dawn that the government would not increase the permits until the survey was completed and there was credible evidence that the population of Markhor was thriving.

Country representatives of IUCN-Pakistan, WWF-Pakistan and Wildlife Conservation Society have praised the initiative of launching the nationwide survey of the wildlife.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019