Govt to promote eco tourism

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KARACHI: Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar has instructed the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) to safeguard community lands, which are valuable for wildlife, and establish conservation agreements with local communities for various ecological areas.

The locals guarding the wildlife from poachers will get 80 per cent share of each trophy hunt, which in case of an Urial could be around Rs5 million.

The SWD will engage local communities to protect swamps, wetlands, lakes and water bodies, which were unsuitable for agriculture, as hunting zones, for their own benefit.

The focus of these conservation arrangements was to promote eco-tourism, scientific game management, native biodiversity, and trophy hunting.

During a meeting at CM House attended by key officials, it was highlighted that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Management Authority and the Ministry of Climate Change allocate trophy hunting quotas for the Community Based Trophy Hunting Programmes in different provinces each year. The quotas for the 2023-24 trophy hunting season were approved in a meeting held in July 2023. The minimum reserved prices for exportable Urial and Sindh Ibex have been revised to $20,000 and $6,000, respectively, for foreign hunters, and Rs400,000 for five Ibex trophies for Pakistani hunters.

The data revealed that there are limited male Ibex and Urial with exploitable horn sizes available for trophy hunting. Trophy hunting typically targets animals with large antlers, often old males, who have past their reproductive age.

Forest and Wildlife Secretary Najam Shah informed the meeting that trophy hunting is not allowed in protected areas such as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries but is permitted in Game Reserves, private lands, and state lands.

Shah emphasised that the primary goal of trophy hunting is not revenue generation, rather conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitats by involving local communities. The benefit-sharing ratio between communities and the government is 80:20 as approved by Pakistan’s CITES Management Authority.

Shah explained that this approach involves forming Community-Based Organisations. He noted that the non-breeding season for game birds, from October to March, is suitable for their legal, ethical, responsible, and sustainable harvest.

The CM directed the wildlife department to close the Tharparkar district, Shaheed Benazirabad division for the hunting season 2023-24, after it was open for hunting in the previous year, to allow for regeneration. Furthermore, the CM urged the department to take appropriate steps to protect migratory birds, considering them as guests deserving of protection.

Tuition, hostel fees waived for Palestinians

CM Baqir has exempted the 48 Palestinians studying in the government educational institutions of Sindh from tuition fee considering the crisis in Palestine.

He has directed the Universities and Boards (U&B) Secretary Noor Ahmed Samu to issue instructions to all government universities to exempt Palestinian students from tuition fees and hostel charges and arrange to offer them a scholarship.

Sharea Faisal beautification

CM Baqar has decided to improve and beautify the main arteries of the city to enhance the image of Karachi.

“People coming from the airport get a bad impression of the city because the road starting from the Jinnah Terminal gives a very dirty and poor look, therefore, I want to beautify Sharea Faisal in the first phase.”

This he said while presiding over a joint meeting of KDA, KMC and leading architects of the city. The meeting was held to seek their advice on the beautification plan. The meeting was attended by Secretary Local Govt Manzoor Shaikh, Commissioner Karachi Saleem Rajput, DG KDA Tahir Sangi, Architects – Ali Naqvi, Yawar Jilani, Adil Kiraie, Hafiz Habib and others.

Briefing the CM, the director general of KDA said that work would be done on growing more trees, improvement of walkways, pedestrian movement areas and pedestrian bridges.

Baqar said that in the first phase, the area from Falaknaz Apartment to Drigh Road would be beautified and then the remaining areas would be developed.

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