Smuggled falcons released after case completion | Pakistan Today

Smuggled falcons released after case completion

LAHORE – The six falcons which were smuggled from the Rawalpindi airport in October 2010 were released on Monday after exactly six months, wild life sources said. The release of the rare Siberian falcons into the wild was organised as a special event by the Punjab Wildlife Department (PWD) and several other groups supporting wildlife and conservation, including WWF-Pakistan were part of the event. The event took place at the Salt Range. Last year, there was an attempt to illegally smuggle a large number of precious Siberian falcons to Qatar. The man was arrested by the airport police and Punjab Wildlife authorities were informed.
The case reached the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Rawalpindi and was eventually settled on the basis that the falcons, which are essentially migratory birds, could not be held any longer in Pakistan and must be released.Nuzhat Siddiqi from WWF-Pakistan told Pakistan Today that the birds would be seriously affected very soon by the approaching summers in Pakistan and that their release soon would be inevitable. Because of their release at this time of the season, the birds will automatically be released in the Salt Range, from where they will migrate to regions of colder climate according to their natural cycle.
CONFERENCE ON BIRDS CONCLUDES: International and local conservationists joined forces to conduct a week long training course in surveying pheasants, partridges, quails and snowcock, collectively called Galliformes, found in the Pakistani Himalayas. The training was organised by World Pheasant Organisation and WWF-Pakistan. Dr David Lee, who is senior conservation scientist of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a WPA Research Associate and a bird enthusiast, instructed trainees indoor and outdoor and brought to light new techniques in surveying and monitoring Galliformes.
Dr Lee was assisted by ZB Mirza, a bird species specialist, professor of biodiversity and ecology and Safdar Ali Shah, a conservator of Wildlife Department Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, both reputed for their knowledge and vast experience of Pakistan’s biodiversity. Around 17 trainees nominated by the Wildlife Departments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, AJK and the University of Arid Agriculture participated in the training held in Baragali, where the Koklass Pheasant, one of the species of focus during the training, is found in abundance.
Participants were taught about ecological linkages of different eco zones of Pakistan. They were also trained in designing field studies for Galliformes, selecting appropriate census methods for different species, field data analysis, and the use of global positioning system receivers and map reading. Pakistan is home to endangered species of pheasants such as western tragopan and cheer pheasant which often become a target of illegal hunting. Some areas in Pakistan such as Pallas and Ayubia fall within Endangered Bird Areas recognised internationally to have endangered species.
With a large-scale three year survey of the Galliformes of the Pakistani Himalayas scheduled to start later this year, the training provided the participants with necessary skills to help design and undertake this valuable fieldwork. This extensive survey, a collaborative effort between WPA – Pakistan and WWF – Pakistan, will provide a valuable indication of the current status and distribution of Galliformes and identify key areas for the effective conservation of these species.
AGREEMENT: WWF-Pakistan and SUPARCO have signed an agreement to collaborate on empowering the Geographic Information System (GIS) for supporting research activities aimed at conserving and protecting environmental resources of Pakistan. The agreement was signed by Director General WWF-Pakistan Ali Hassan Habib and Secretary SUPARCO Arshad H Siraj.
With increasing population and urbanisation, Pakistan’s unique biodiversity is receding every day. Mangrove trees are being cut at an alarming rate, the Indus dolphins are threatened, freshwater turtles are exported to other countries, wetlands are endangered by locals, and housing schemes are made on agricultural land.
Hence amongst this frenzy there is a need to work together to conserve the resources. In this regard, Geographic Information System is used to collect data on species found in Pakistan in order to facilitate the conservation activities within WWF-Pakistan and to support such activities taking place at other organisations, through sharing of this information.
This partnership will not only enable WWF-Pakistan and SUPARCO to carry out joint ventures, but they will also share research data, results, publications and other relevant information. Both organisations will exchange skill knowledge in their respective areas of expertise. Overall this partnership will accomplish conservation, protection and restoration of endemic biological resources of our country.
Speaking about the agreement, Habib said, “Pakistan is blessed with ecosystems which support biodiversity exclusive to Pakistan. The only way we can save this national treasure is by mutual sharing of knowledge and expertise and this is what we are hoping to attain through this agreement”.

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