IWMB to launch strict action against tourists, visitors bathing in Margalla’s springs

ISLAMABAD, Aug 29 (APP): The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) on Monday decided to launch strict action against the tourists and visitors for bathing in freshwater springs that got filled after massive monsoon rains and helped replenish the depleting ecology.
The IWMB forest guards during their routine patrolling spotted many families including men, women and children bathing in springs of Trail-5 that had attained maximum water level in its dried and abandoned springs after a prolonged dry spell.
An IWMB official told APP that the tourists and seasonal trekkers were showing irresponsible and disrespectful attitude towards the mother nature and pristine ecology of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) that was protected after many preservation efforts.
The tourists believed to be at the trails to beat the heat by bathing in freshwater springs that were a source of pure water for humans and wildlife alike and the practice of polluting it was equally detrimental for all.
The recent abnormal torrential rains that had lashed out almost all of the country had also showered record rainfall in the national park that overflew its dry freshwater springs, he added.
Hills National Park homes rich biodiversity and ecology spreading over an area of 17,000 hectares facing serious risks due to wild fires, arson, poaching, hunting and tree cutting.
The threat of deforestation, poaching, hunting have been controlled through the preservation and protection measures by the IWMB through public and community mobilisation and it also assisted in increasing green cover in the protected area.
The official added that the conservation efforts had also improved vegetation on the hiking trails and across the national park that replenished the aquifer of the Margalla Hills. “Water level has improved specially at Trail-6 where all water springs are filled with water stretching over some three kilometers area. Trail-6 is also a leopard preserve zone which is not open for public and hence has unprecedented green cover and plants in the area.”
The IWMB official underlined that the IWMB staff patrolling was improved in the National Park to control tree cutting, pollution, littering in the protected area and bathing in the freshwater springs.
“The water in springs to remain till the months of November and December this year as the experts claim. The aquifer of Margalla Hills National Park has also filled to its maximum which is almost 30 feet deep,” she mentioned.
According to Professor Dr. Zahid Baig Mirza, Senior Board Member IWMB, she said the overflowing water springs indicated replenished aquifer which had attained its maximum
level after rains.
Rina mentioned that the wildlife species had dispersed in the National Park due to ample availability of water throughout the protected area and might not be spotted frequently inside the wild area of the trails.
Margalla Hills National Park, she said, was the most well staffed national park of the country with a regular strength of 70 personnel with efficient management.
The Board was also waiting federal cabinet’s approval for the Islamabad Wildlife Management Act which was pending at the forum as the new legislation would help IWMB to penalize violators, charge fee for entering the national park and generate revenue.
He added that the details of a recent order of Islamabad High Court also needed implementation by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration and Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The Board also intended to create fence around the villages to prevent further encroachment by villages like Saidpur village.

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