ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Wildlife Department on Saturday released another rescued pangolin into its natural habitat in Rawalpindi district.

The baby pangolin was rescued from Murree after locals reported seeing a dragon-like creature to the authorities, District Wildlife official, Punjab Wildlife Department Rizwana Aziz told Dawn.

“Sadly pangolins are still perceived as grave diggers that eat dead bodies. They walk strange and look like dinosaurs also,” Ms Aziz said. She was contacted by authorities to come and collect the animal.

This was the second pangolin, which is enlisted as an endangered animal in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), rescued within a span of five to six months.

Pakistan has lost more than 80pc of its pangolins due to their illegal killing for their scales and meat, said senior director (biodiversity) World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In the last decade, starting from 2013-14, pangolins were hunted for their scales indiscriminately.

According to Ms Aziz, pangolin populations were improving and were regularly sighted.

The official also elaborated upon how her office had stepped up its crackdown against illegal bird sellers. Since July, Punjab Wildlife department confiscated and released 1,000 wild sparrows, mainas and baya weavers that were sold illegally on the streets of Rawalpindi.

Even on Saturday, when markets are closed due to the lockdown, the department apprehended a person selling sparrows illegally.

“The number of illegal bird sellers in the streets of the twin cities has increased to the extent that we have been ordered by the prime minister’s house to look into the problem,” Ms Aziz said.

The crackdown on illegal bird sellers started in July and has been prioritised over other issues by the wildlife department.

“These birds are not sold as food. Instead bird sellers walk in the streets carrying some 50 to 80 birds in cages, attracting and deceiving passersby by telling them that releasing these birds would lift all curses. People end up paying anywhere between Rs50 to Rs100 to release one wild sparrow or baya weaver,” Ms Aziz said.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2021

Opinion

Wheat import and food security
22 Oct 2021

Wheat import and food security

Wheat is the only commodity which justifies government intervention as the poor strata cannot be left at the mercy of the market
Living with Covid
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Living with Covid

Mental health professionals have been warning that Covid has brought with it a depression crisis.
Cricket aggression
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Cricket aggression

Good thinking, good plans and good execution will create a quality institution that can produce great teams.
Markets and disinformation
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Markets and disinformation

Journalists should be allowed to work freely as Pakistan's weak investor sentiment can't bear burden of an avalanche of fake news.

Editorial

Spate of attacks
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Spate of attacks

Following a near-constant decline since 2016, the year 2021 has witnessed a precipitous rise in violence-related fatalities in KP.
22 Oct 2021

Libel suits

THE outcome of two libel cases recently decided by courts in England should be edifying for the government — if it...
22 Oct 2021

Education losses

A NEW report on the education losses suffered by Pakistani children due to pandemic-induced school closures sheds...
Not just cricket
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Not just cricket

Hype surrounding the match — sold out as soon as tickets sales opened — has overshadowed the other games, as well as other teams.
Local governance
21 Oct 2021

Local governance

The court ruling restoring local institutions in Punjab should go a long way in ensuring the continuation of grassroots democracy.
21 Oct 2021

Breast cancer awareness

LIKE so many other issues relating to women’s health in Pakistan, breast cancer is not a subject of serious...