GILGIT: A model tourist resort has been established in the Hoper valley of the Nagar district with a view to protecting the snow leopard population and promoting ecotourism with the involvement of the local community.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam inaugurated the ‘Leo Camp’, the first of its kind, in Hunono area on Sunday. Nagar deputy commissioner Zulqarnain Khan, officials of the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF), GLOF-II project and local community conservation members were in attendance.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Aslam said the SLF had helped develop three eco-resorts in Hoper valley in order to empower and involve local community for ecologically sensitive tourism promotion.

“Development of conservation tourism sites in snow leopard habitats is a unique initiative to support the local communities and promote wild cat’s conservation,” added Mr Aslam.

He said the revenues generated from the tourist resort would go to local community. “They will be our partners for conservation of wildlife species, including snow leopard, in the area.”

The PM’s adviser said the project would also generate jobs for the locals. “I am extremely pleased to see the ‘Camp Leo’ (Leo is name of a snow leopard) becoming a reality within one year after we had envisioned the idea of an eco-resort in one of the most beautiful snow leopard valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.

Malik Aslam said the project was a model tourist resort for whole of Pakistan to promote responsible tourism and protection of rare wildlife species.

He expressed the hope that people from all over the country would visit the resort. He also promised help to improve the road connectivity in the area.

Talking to Dawn, SLF regional programme manager Hussain Ali said every effort was made during the construction and development of the camp to keep it environmental-friendly. He said the Leo Camp was established at cost of Rs10 million through local conservation committee, covering 10 kanals of area. “It consists of a tourist information and facilitation centre, wooden huts, tents for tourists stay, a cultural museum and a traditional kitchen.

Meanwhile, the PM’s special assistant also participated in a ‘clean and green Nagar’ drive in Hoper valley.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2021

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