AAPI Convention 2022

 

Wildlife in Pakistan under threat from climate change and government apathy

“Natural pastures are depleting which has led to many species of animals, birds, and moths becoming extinct,” Ashiq Ahmed, a Pakistani wildlife expert, was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. “Butterflies used to be common but they are rarely seen now.”

May 14, 2022
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Rising heat, fast melting glaciers, and flash floods are becoming routine rather than the exception, and so are the depletion and extinction of species. But, unlike the former, the latter is struggling to get attention. In Pakistan, much attention is being given to its impact on humans, while ignoring its severe consequences on wildlife which, more often than not, is the first in line to face the brunt.

Faced with a looming water crisis, authorities in Pakistan are increasingly converting geographical areas like wetlands into dams, barrages, and lakes, prioritizing the needs of humans while ignoring the impact on wildlife depending in these areas.

Experts in Pakistan have pointed out that species extinctions are fast becoming a reality as natural habitats of animals and birds are vanishing, according to a report in The Express Tribune. Developmental projects are taking a heavy toll on the country’s once-vibrant wildlife ecosystem.

“Natural pastures are depleting which has led to many species of animals, birds, and moths becoming extinct,” Ashiq Ahmed, a Pakistani wildlife expert, was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. “Butterflies used to be common but they are rarely seen now.”

Breeding has gone down in recent years, the arrival and departure period of migratory birds is coming down, and some species have vanished from sight altogether.

Worldwide, over 40 percent of the world’s migratory bird species have become extinct. And over 90% of birds - including houbara, geese, and ducks - are vulnerable to human activities and lack coordinated survival efforts for them.

Besides climate change, there are other factors as well that accentuate this downfall. Badar Munir, another wildlife expert, blames the lack of policy initiatives and their implementation for the crisis.

“One of the major reasons for the failure to protect wildlife from climate change is the poor performance of relevant departments. Administrative positions are filled by people who have no interest in wildlife or forests or have no knowledge of it,” she said.

Activists and conservationists in Pakistan are worried. The trend of prioritizing developmental projects to meet critical human needs without an elaborate assessment of their impact on wildlife and the environment is only going to increase in the coming years. With limited resources and exploding population growth, issues concerning wildlife will take a backburner and struggle to gain attention from policymakers.

(SAM)

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