Punjab government decides to form protection force against poaching
The main reason for stopping poaching is lack of manpower and resources, officials said. – Photo: File
Lahore: Illegal hunting of wildlife is on the rise in Punjab. Last year, there were more than 2,000 cases of poaching, but this year, the number is expected to increase further.
According to officials, the main reason for stopping poaching is the lack of manpower and resources of the department. On the other hand, the Punjab government has decided to form a Punjab Wildlife Protection Force to curb poaching and protect wildlife.
In Punjab, 35 persons involved in poaching were arrested in different districts on Sunday and fined more than Rs. 217,000. Most cases of poaching have been reported in Rawalpindi Division and Salt Range. According to the statistics of Punjab Wildlife, in the year 2020, 2140 cases of poaching were registered as a result of which the accused were fined Rs. 13865 thousand.
A field employee of Punjab Wildlife stationed in Salt Range said on condition of anonymity that the hunters who come here to hunt legally have modern vehicles and weapons, we have old motorbikes or the district. The officer has a car. We can’t compete with these predators.
He said that if the poachers are stopped, they resort to violence while in many cases cases are registered against the wildlife employees in the police stations. If a hunter is allowed to hunt an animal or a few birds, he hunts far more.
A spokesman for Punjab Wildlife said that Punjab is such a big province but we have only about one thousand field staff, lack of vehicles. Are the leaders for and have achieved significant success.
On the other hand, wildlife expert Badr Munir says that there are many reasons for poaching of wildlife including lack of manpower and resources, lack of community based organizations, lack of promotion of legal hunting and awareness about the importance of wildlife. Not to mention, many of our people hunt relentlessly just for meat, which needs to be discouraged.
He said that if the department could involve the local communities, it could help in curbing poaching. In the same way, legal hunting should be promoted, the best way of which is trophy hunting.
Badr Munir further said that the reason for the increase in poaching in Punjab is illegal and influential poachers, besides CBOs have been restricted, although CBOs have saved Markhor in Pakistan, there is a successful model in Gilgit-Baltistan. Similarly, private game reserves are not being approved in Punjab. For the last several years, there are only two game reserves while applications for establishment of ten game reserves are pending with Secretary Forest.
Secretary Forest and Wildlife Punjab Shahid Zaman said that while we are going to conduct trophy hunting for prevention of poaching and enhancement of extinct wildlife, work has also been started to make Punjab Wildlife Department a force. 88 guards are being recruited for Cholistan, 67 new vehicles, 400 motorcycles, arms and uniforms are also being procured, funds of Rs. 2 billion are being provided for this, Punjab Wildlife has severe shortage of manpower therefore 550 New persons will be recruited. This summary has been sent to the Chief Minister of Punjab. 1700 employees will be recruited for forests and 600 for fisheries.
Shahid Zaman also said that the Wildlife Protection Force would initially be deployed in national parks. Five new National Parks have been created in Punjab including Pubi National Park, Khairi Mort National Park, Lal Sohnra National Park Bahawalpur, Salt Range National Park, Chanji National Park.
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