Pakistan has developed protection plan for snow leopards which face threats of extinction
Pakistan is making all efforts to improve the status of the snow leopard which is no longer endangered species but still face extinction.
Pakistan has endorsed the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) by developing its National Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Priorities (NSLEP) and joined other snow leopard range countries for achieving the goal of “securing 20 landscapes by 2020” three of which falls in Pakistan, said the Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan.
The Minister was speaking at the International Snow Leopard Day event, organized by Snow Leopard Foundation in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change and other partners.
The Ministry of Climate Change has involved all the provinces and relevant stakeholders while planning the conservation strategy. He further added that this program would be started in April 2018.
Dr. Ali Nawaz, winner of Whitely Award for his efforts to conserve snow leopard in Pakistan, Federal Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, H.E Dr. Tore Nedrebo The Ambassador of Norway and other officials attended the event held in Islamabad on 23 October 2017.
Pakistan is among the 12 countries where the snow leopards are found. Known as the ‘Ghosts-of-the-mountains’, this wildcat is found in the country’s northern Himalayan region. Experts believe an estimated 3,000 to 7,500 snow leopards exist in the 12 countries and Pakistan is home to 200 of the big cats.
Pakistan has recently allocated an amount of $4.5 million to launch multi-year snow leopard protection programme in Gilgit-Baltistan region next year.
Norwegian Ambassador Dr Tore Nedrebo said Norway had established a national disaster relief fund in 1962 in order to address climate change and related issues and that such a fund should be established in Pakistan in the snow leopard range in order to cope with climate change and its impacts.
Measures to improve the status of the snow leopard in Pakistan will have positive impacts on the overall mountain community and contribute to a resilient ecosystem, he added.
Federal Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmed Akif said Pakistan is an active member of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem program (GSLEP) process and had chaired the GSLEP steering committee for years. Three GSLEP model landscapes -Karakoram-Pamir, Himalayas and Hindu Kush- fall in Pakistan.
Pakistan aims to establish Information Centres to promote awareness about snow leopards, prey species and the values of snow leopard ecosystem, and to engage youth in conservation activities, he said.
The snow leopard has recently been off the list of endangered species. “However, its population continues to decline and it still faces a high risk of extinction through habitat loss and degradation, declines in prey, competition with livestock, persecution, and poaching for illegal wildlife trade,” the IUCN reported.