Pakistan Minister for Environment wants to save endangered snow leopard
Wednesday 31 May 2006

Minister of State for Environment Malik Amin Aslam Khan said on Thursday that the endangered snow leopard was considered a national treasure and that efforts should be made to save the species from extinction. He was addressing a steering committee meeting of the Snow Leopard Network (SLN), a non-governmental organization. The minister said that the government was making an all out effort to evolve a concrete mechanism to save endangered species of rare birds and animals. He said the SLN had initiated several plans to address the threat to snow leopards all over the world.

Dr Rodney Jackson, director of the Snow Leopard Conservation, said that it was quite difficult to properly implement a complete ban on hunting the snow leopard in remote areas. He said that poorly constructed livestock pens and ineffective compensation programmes had created a severe dent in the effort to save the species.

Dr Jackson said that religious leaders could influence the local people to avoid hunting snow leopards for financial gain. He said that the effort to save wildlife was based on a 4-D principle; discover, dream, design and deliver. Dr Javed Khan, member of the SLN steering committee, said that the SLN had initiated several steps to stop killing and poaching of snow leopards in the remote areas of the country. He said that fresh initiatives had yielded encouraging results and that efforts included improving animal husbandry programmes, information management system and an eco-system awareness plan.

Dr Javed said that an area measuring 81,000 sq kilometres had been selected as potential habitat for snow leopards in the country. He said that funding for the protection of snow leopards was much lower when compared to the magnitude of the problem. Dr Thomas McCarthy, a researcher, said that the snow leopard survival strategy was now yielding a positive outcome as many protected areas had been established to save the specie in several countries. He said the SLN was actively recruiting new members all over the world to promote conservation of the snow leopard.

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