A brown bear family sighted in Hundrap, Ghizer
Our Correspondent

Gilgit, June 21: The Snow Leopard Foundation, Pakistan, has said that a family of Brown Bear has been sighted in Hundrap area of Phandar, located in Ghizer District of Gilgit – Baltistan. According to a press statement members of an occupancy survey team sighted the Brown Bear family from an approximate distance of almost 100m.

The site occupancy survey in Pahndar was a two week activity to document occurrence of large carnivores, the press statement states, in which an area comprising of 51 grid cells (5 x 5 km each) were searched by six experienced researchers. The main localities surveyed included Langer, Barsit, Teru, Hundrab, Serbal and Chashi. The presence of brown bear, wolf, fox and ibex was confirmed in different parts of the area through their signs. Sighting of brown bear in Hundrab strengthened the evidences.

Gupis: The surveyors think that the population of the endangered Brown Bear in Hundrap might be very small. PR

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Paguma Larvata

Smuggled turtles released into Indus


Smuggled turtles released into Indus
By The Newspaper's Staff Reporter
Published Sep 23, 2014 06:21am

SUKKUR: Around 200 smuggled turtles that China recently handed over to Pakistan were released into the Indus River (in the Kalar block) near the Rohri forest on Monday.

The black pond turtles, a freshwater species, were smuggled out of Sindh and were confiscated in Taxkorgan, China, last month. Later, they were handed over to Pakistani officials in a ceremony held at Khunjrab Pass on the Pakistan-China border.

Know more: Illegal trade booms as Sindh govt yet to give protected status to freshwater turtles

According to wildlife officials, it’s for the first time that turtles that had been smuggled in large numbers from Pakistan were returned and released back into their habitat.

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200 turtles found in luggage onboard Bangkok flight
By Faiza Ilyas
Published Sep 21, 2014 06:37am

KARACHI: Sindh wildlife department staff foiled an attempt to smuggle out more than 200 black pond turtles, a freshwater species, to Bangkok at Karachi airport on Saturday morning. This was the second major seizure of turtles within two months.

Sources said the species (Geoclemys hamiltonii), also known as spotted pond turtles or the Indian spotted turtles, were found in the luggage of a man who had arrived from Lahore a day earlier.

The species is listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and, therefore, cannot be bought or sold internationally.

“The suspect, identified as Sajid, had boarded the flight and was seated in the plane when he was taken into custody. The turtles were found inside two suitcases in cloth bags cushioned with wet foam. One of a total of 218 turtles was dead,” said Adnan Hamid Khan, Game Officer, In-charge of License Branch, Sindh wildlife department.

THE turtles seized on a Bangkok-bound flight.

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Open season: Saudi royals flock in search of Houbara Bustards
By Shezad Baloch
Published: September 18, 2014

QUETTA: As temperatures begin to drop below freezing point in Siberia by the start of next month, an estimated 500,000 to a million Houbara Bustard birds will use Balochistan as a transit route while they migrate to warmer climes in central and south Asia.

As the birds head to Balochistan, so too do royal families from the Gulf countries, who hunt the endangered species. In April this year, officials revealed that Saudi Prince Fahd bin Sultan and others in his party killed 2,100 birds during a three-week vacation in the Chagai district in January.

Hunting is allowed through falconry in Pakistan but the World Wide Fund for Nature says the royal hunters use firearms that are prohibited by law. “These royal families come here and wreak havoc with the wildlife in Pakistan,” said WWF’s head Yaha Musakhail. He explained that hunting these birds is only allowed in Pakistan whereas the birds are internationally protected.

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‘Living fossils’ on the verge of extinction
By Shoaib Ahmed
Published Sep 15, 2014 06:21am

LAHORE: Though turtles are resilient specie and they are considered living fossils for their adaptability to their environment, they are facing imminent threat to their survival in Pakistan because of human activity and their mass killing and smuggling.

This transpired during a media trip to Sukkur, organised by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, to highlight the illegal trade of turtles and their parts.

Though no data on turtle population in Pakistan is available with the WWF or the wildlife departments, they have been declared endangered specie. The decision is based on some IUCN studies that say various turtle species in Pakistan are under great threat because of their massive killing for their illegal trade. There has been mass mortality of river turtles in the past. At the Sukkur Barrage more than 1,000 turtles were found dead along the Indus banks. Later, autopsies showed these animals were poisoned. Similarly, 3,650kg frozen body parts of turtles were confiscated while being shipped to Vietnam at Karachi airport in 2005. In another incident, 700kg dried turtles parts were intercepted while being smuggled to China at the Jinnah international airport.

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Blue whale’s stomach sold for Rs100,000
By Our Correspondent
Published: August 14, 2014

Marine experts claim that the dead whale found in Karachi’s waters was not an Arabian Humpback but a blue whale.

They claim that although the blue whale is common in many oceans, it is considered to be an endangered species. “It is 67-foot-long and it is a blue whale not a humpback,” said Moazzam Khan, the technical adviser of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Pakistan and the chairperson of the Pakistan Whales and Dolphin Society.

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