Government notifies 11 sites as ‘protected areas’ for wildlife conservation – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: Taking a major initiative for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats in various ecological zones of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government has notified 11 sites as “protected areas”, including three national parks.

With the declaration of three new national parks, five reserves and four sites of special scientific interest, the province’s protected area coverage has increased from 10.22% to 14.91%, a wildlife department official said. .

“This is a great achievement, and we will increase the province’s protected area coverage to 17% over the next few months,” an official said. Dawn.

The Department of Forestry, Environment and Wildlife, through separate notifications, declared thousands of hectares of land in Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar and Kohat divisions as protected areas under the Act of 2015 on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife and Biodiversity (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management). .

Coverage of KP protected areas increases from 10.22 pc to 14.91 pc

Under the law, national park, reserve, wildlife sanctuary, site of special scientific interest, wildlife refuge, biosphere reserve, national natural heritage site and game reserve are called protected areas.

In light of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directives, the wildlife department has drawn up a plan to create six new national parks to increase the province’s protected area coverage. However, the plan could not be executed due to differences of opinion among stakeholders.

According to a notification, the department has notified that an area of ​​5,236 hectares in Nizampur area of ​​Nowshera district has been granted national park status. The area is bounded by Cherat cantt to the north, the Indus River to the south and east, and the Darra Adamkhel region of Kohat district to the west.

In Mansehra district, 19971.76 acres of reserve forests in Malkandi area of ​​Mansehra district have been notified as a national park. The area is bounded by Kaghan Valley to the north, Balakot city to the south, Matchiara National Park of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the east, and Souna Guzara Forest, Kunhar River to the west.

An area of ​​5455.82 acres of land in Kamal Ban area of ​​Mansehra district has been declared a national park. The area is surrounded by Pattan Dais Guzara Forest to the north, Jarid Guzara Forest to the south, Kunhar River to the east and Souna Guzara Forest to the west.

With the notification of these new national parks, the number of national parks in Mansehra district has increased to four.

In addition, the department has also notified five reserves in different areas of the province, including Mankial Reserve in Swat which covers an area of ​​20,380 hectares, Kalam Reserve which covers an area of ​​109,898 hectares, of Terich Torkhow in Upper Chitral over an area of ​​262,228 hectares. .

In addition, the scenic Kumrat Valley in Upper Dir over an area of ​​27,056 hectares and Dir Kohistan also in Upper Dir over an area of ​​29,742 hectares have also been declared reserves.

In addition, four Sites of Special Scientific Interest have also been notified by the department in Buner, Swat and Haripur districts.

The size of KP’s protected area had dropped from 15% to 10.21% after the tribal districts were merged into the province in 2018. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Pakistan is increase the protected area to 17 percent of its total territory by 2030 to achieve long-term nature conservation with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. The total protected area of ​​Pakistan is about 11%.

As part of the draft protected areas management plan, the newly created national parks service within the wildlife department would be strengthened. Officials said the NPS which will be extended to the five regions of the province including Upper Dir, Mansehra, Chitral, Peshawar or Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan will deal with conservation and preservation of national parks.

“The newly created NPS will be very focused on the conservation and preservation of national parks,” the official said, adding that the respective district forestry (wildlife) officers will lead the department.

He said the administration and management of all wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, biosphere reserves, reserves and SSSIs would be transferred to the NPS curator.

The official said that after notification of protected areas, the department, in collaboration with other stakeholders, would demarcate new national parks, reserves and sites of special scientific interest.

Posted in Dawn, January 16, 2022

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