MOOC developing National Red Data book on mammals of Pakistan

Pakistan is on the forefront to fight climate change issues and PM Imran Khan has been a stellar leader in leading Pakistan’s green drive. His initiatives like Ten Billion Tree Tsunami have been appreciated by both national and international stakeholders.

In this effort to reinstate biodiversity and green ecosystems an ambitious initiative has been launched which is developing the first ever National Red Data Book on mammals of Pakistan.

Mr. Muhammad Saleem, spokesperson of the Ministry of Climate Change (MOOC) shared that, this initiative will provide an overview of the status of variety of mammal species present in Pakistan based on population estimates.

What is a Red Data Book?

“The Red Data Book is the national level document maintained for recording rare and endangered species of animals, plants and fungi as well as some local sub-species that exist within the territory of the state or country”

How will this Red Data Book help MOOC Pakistan?

As Pakistan is a rich country which has lots of mammal species in its biodiverse ecosystem, this record maintenance will help plan securing those breeds and generations of animals which are fast depleting or are getting extinct from our national environmental ecosystem.

These animals and plants play a significant role in maintaining the environmental equilibrium we live in. Urbanization is dangerous as it hurts natural habitat and when less feasible environments are made a norm such species are endangered to become rare.

Maintenance of Pakistan-specific Red Data Book is a needed step forward to identify myriad risks various wildlife species face in Pakistan and provides complete information of rare and endangered species and about their habitats, the official added.

Six teams have been composed, comprising 6-8 persons each team, which have started conducting the surveys. The teams consist of wildlife experts from various organizations including the climate change ministry, zoological survey of Pakistan, Punjab wildlife & Parks department, community-based organizations, NGO’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan, Snow Leopard Foundation, Sustainable Forest Management), and university students.

He stressed that “in fact the Red Data Book would significantly help the policymakers, wildlife policymakers, conservators, researchers and experts in providing complete information for research, studies and also for monitoring the programmes on rare and endangered species and their habitats in the country”.

Mr. Muhammad Saleem MOOC’s spokesperson said, “Pakistan’s comprehensive National Red Data Book of mammals will provide population status of species at national level which will assist in rolling out monitoring and conservation strategies for threatened wildlife species at regional levels.”

The 15-day surveys would continue till October 25, 2020, which is the rutting season of this wildlife species, in the five districts of Punjab; Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock, Mianwali and Khushab. While giving an overview of wildlife species to be covered in the country’s first Red Data Book, he highlighted that Punjab Urial (Ovis vignei punjabensis) has been ranked as endemic in the country found in scrub forest in Kala Chitta and Salt Ranges of the Punjab.

It is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is also listed in Appendix-II of the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty among countries to protect endangered plants and animals.

The climate change media spokesperson also highlighted various challenges to survival of the Punjab Uria, saying habitat fragmentation, degradation and loss caused due to livestock grazing, construction of roads, dams, encroachment of wild area due to cultivation and other developmental activities, Illegal hunting for meat, trophies and poaching of lambs are among the key threats to the Punjab Urial and foremost causes of decline in its population.

He pointed out that there is presently little baseline data available, which hardly provides any understanding about current status of the Punjab Urial species and which is a main bottleneck to its conservation and protection.

Pakistan Transitions (Paktran)s main focus is to cover all news which are relevant to climate change, sustainability, environmental drive, low carbon footprint and sustainable development goals (SDG)s.  

National Red Data book
National Red Data book

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