Boosting Wildlife Protection: Snow Leopard Foundation’s Training Initiative in Pakistan

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Islamabad: The wildlife crime or illegal hunting earns more than legal hunting. Advanced countries use crime scene evidence as a main source to prove the crime. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the wildlife departments rely on the oppression of poachers through the recovery of guns and meals. When these poachers approach civil courts, they are acquitted due to a lack of crime scene evidence.

To address this issue, Snow Leopard Foundation has organized a “training of master trainers on the disruption of poaching and wildlife crime scene investigation training.” Ten officials from the wildlife department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, WWF-Pakistan, and Snow Leopard Foundation have successfully completed the 3-days training. Brian Petrar, a seasoned wildlife law enforcement professional from Canada leads the training.

During the closing and certificates distribution ceremony Conservator Wildlife Samar Hussain Khan from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination said that the Wildlife Guards/Watchers play an indispensable role in safeguarding wildlife at the grassroots level. In collaboration with local communities, their efforts are vital to securing the future of our wildlife. To be effective, these field staff require not only motivation but also appropriate knowledge, skills, equipment, and gear. They truly deserve recognition for their commendable efforts to combat the poaching of wildlife species, an issue that, until now, has been addressed only on a limited scale.

Samar Khan commended the Snow Leopard Foundation, Provincial Wildlife Departments, and stakeholders on the successful completion of the first phase of training. He extended best wishes for the upcoming second phase and encouraged trainees to join efforts in conserving biodiversity, including snow leopards, for a brighter future.

Brian Petrar said that “I am pleased with the progress in building the capacities of participants through effective training in supporting law enforcement crime scene investigation. This training will bolster the conservation efforts of the Government of Pakistan and organizations like the Snow Leopard Foundation. It will enable us to protect wildlife more effectively and provide scientific evidence in courts to prosecute poachers and wrongdoers.”

In his message, Director SLF Mr. Ali Nawaz expressed gratitude to all participants for their dedication in mastering techniques to combat wildlife crime. He emphasized the necessity of equipping field staff with essential skills for effective wildlife protection. Mr. Nawaz acknowledged the significance of collaboration between the government, communities, and organizations like SLF to address wildlife crime challenges. He reiterated SLF’s commitment to conservation and urged ongoing cooperation to protect Pakistan’s biodiversity.

The Snow Leopard Foundation, alongside the Snow Leopard Trust, proudly introduces the “Citizen Rangers Wildlife Protection Program (CRWPP)” aimed at combating poaching and illegal wildlife trade across high mountain regions. With support from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, key activities include training and equipping rangers and establishing a network of master trainers. Moving forward, participants will serve as master trainers, aiming to train 50 individuals from different departments this year.

 

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