ISLAMABAD: 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. He was speaking at the International Snow Leopard Day event been 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 said the Federal Minister. The Federal Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, H.E Dr. Tore Nedrebo The Ambassador of Norway and other officials from government and non-government organizations were present at the event.
The International Snow Leopard Day was celebrated to renew the commitment of protecting and conserving the snow leopard, its habitat and the ecosystem. Highlight of the event was screening of documentary by Snow Leopard Foundation “Science, Society and Snow Leopards”, which was greatly liked by the audience. An act by school children and announcement of poster competition were also part of the event. The poster competition was arranged one month earlier as part of the snow leopard day celebrations in snow leopard communities’ schools in its program regions in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.
Speaking at the event, H.E Dr. Tore Nedrebo the Ambassador of Norway shared his comments and views on climate change. He told the audience that the weather conditions are extreme in Norway as in the snow leopard habitat. Measures to improve the status of the snow leopard in the Pakistan will have positive impacts on the overall mountain communities and contribute to resilient ecosystems. Norwegian universities have established programs on climate research related to hydrology, climatology, glaciology, and response of arctic life. The NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) is exploring climate change effects on large carnivores and harvested mammals. Supported by the Norwegian Research council, NMBU is maintaining an active collaboration with the Snow Leopard Foundation for extensive field research in northern mountains of Pakistan.
Federal Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmad Akif informed the audience that Pakistan is an active member of GSLEP process and chaired the GSLEP steering committee for three years. Three GSLEP model landscapes; Karakoram-Pamir, Himalayas and Hindu kush, falls in Pakistan. He Talked about the measures to impart ground-breaking impact in context of conserving these ecosystems such as: establishing endowment fund to encourage community’s active participation in conservation by providing safety net against predation losses and incentives to improve natural habitats in their valleys. By establishing National Wildlife Institute to provide a platform for professional training of wildlife professionals of all levels/cadres and foster systematic ecological research to understand ecology and conservation needs of threatened species of Pakistan. To establishing Information Centres to promote awareness about snow leopards, prey species and the values of snow leopard ecosystem, and to engage youth in conservation activities
Inspector General Forests Syed Mahmood Nasir spoke about the improvement in the need of advanced scientific research in wildlife conservation and environmental protection. The Federal Minister praised the efforts of snow leopard foundation and Dr. Muhammad Ali Nawaz for arranging this event and specially the involvement of local community schools in poster competitions and other activities. The products of Snow Leopard Enterprise were also put on display so showcase the crafts produced by female artisans from snow leopard range communities. These women are trained by Snow Leopard Foundation team of women in order to enhance their skills which can help the local communities to improve their household livelihoods.