Zahid for involving locals in snow leopard’s conservation

ISLAMABAD, June 2 (APP): Minister for Climate Change
Zahid Hamid has underlined the need for involving local community in conservation of snow leopard – a rare species.

He expressed these views during a ceremony held to commemorate the bestowal of the Whitey Award – the Green Oscar by the Royal Geographical Society on Muhammad Ali Nawaz for his efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard in Pakistan.

Whitley award was given to Ali Nawaz on April 27, 2016 in London in recognition of his efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard in mountains of the country’s northern parts.

The Princess Royal had presented him the 2016 Whitley Award, a prestigious international nature conservation prize, at the Royal Geographical Society, London, which was attended by over 550 guests including Sir David Attenborough.

He said “The involvement of local community will not only help generate income but beneficial for the conservation of special and unique species.”

“The award is an important recognition of Pakistan’s efforts on the conservation front, and will catalyze local and national efforts to accelerate snow leopard conservation, and improve coordination among stakeholders across the large landscapes snow leopards need to survive,” the minister said.

The minister said the efforts of Ali Nawaz were exemplary to save the endangered species in Pakistan.

“Nawaz has made whole Pakistani nation proud by bring this Green Oscar in Pakistani,” said Zahid Hamid.

He said “The majestic snow leopard is, no doubt, is a symbol of pride for its range states, including Pakistan.”

Zahid Hamid said Pakistan was blessed with varied and interesting diversity of fauna and flora, starting from mangrove forests along country’s coastline to snowcapped mountains in north Pakistan was endowed with a rich biodiversity.

“The habitat of snow leopard and other wildlife of mountainous tracts of Himalayas, Karakorum and Hindukush besides providing scenic and aesthetic value also provide numerous ecosystem service,” he minister said.

The snow leopard is an iconic flagship species of the mountains of central Asia.

It is estimated that about 200 snow leopards exist in Pakistan’s north mountains including Hindukush,Himalaya, Karakorum, Pamir itchiest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The species is categorized endangered in the IUCN Red list and listed in appendix-I of the convention on international trade in endangered species.

The representatives of foreign embassies in Pakistan partner
organizations and participants of 6th ECO Working Group Meeting on Environment also attend the event.

The minister also distributed mementos among the participants of the ECO Working Group Meeting and the award recipient Ali Nawaz.