Pakistan has been undergoing significant loss of various endangered species at an accelerated rate due to a multitude of anthropogenic factors having cumulative impact on forest, wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
A comprehensive list of such anthropogenic factors include: organized poaching and wildlife trafficking with international support from illegal wildlife trade operators across international borders, rapid rise of insurgency, unrestricted and unmonitored anthropogenic forest fires, massive habitat loss and habitat fragmentation,
Lack of funding, education, training and modernization of forest guards or ground level forest security forest post independence, poor intelligence network with respect to forest and wildlife biosecurity, illegal human encroachments into forested areas, poor management of exiting forest resources,
Over exploitation and looting of major and minor forest products, over exploitation of freshwater, estuarine and marine natural resources, environmental pollution, Global Warming and Climate Change, poor monitoring and surveillance by forest department, archaic and outdated methods of forest and wildlife surveys, unplanned expansion of industry, agriculture and infrastructure within forest belts without proper environmental impact assessment studies,
High level of incompetency, corruption and lack of credibility in forest staff and concerned officials, lack of public support, engagement, education and awareness about conservation issues among the public, politicians and parliamentarians,
Lack of determined political will to make ground level changes with respect to conservation of forest and environment; and finally lack of a nationwide comprehensive conservation policy for protecting forest, wildlife and biodiversity.
Under these circumstances, it is not possible for Pakistan alone to make significant changes in the field of conservation. Adjacent countries sharing international borders and migration corridors for animals need to come together and establish a common platform for successful and effective conservation through Joint Conservation Initiative (JCI).
If China, SAARC and ASEAN member nations come forward with a Joint Conservation Initiative (JCI); it could completely change the global conservation scenario. The region represents five mega biodiverse nations of the planet, namely-China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Together cross border insurgency, wildlife trafficking and poaching could be regulated successfully, and it could change the fate of forest, wildlife and biodiversity for the entire region and become a global model for other continents to follow.
Unless Pakistan decides to take a strong and determined action plan for protecting her majestic wildlife and her last remaining forests, it may be too late to save them for extermination in the not so distant future.
Last but not the least, I must sincerely thank the effort of Pakistani media in being proactive towards various ecological and environmental issues and playing an increasingly important role in educating the public regarding the danger of loss of endangered species, forests and biodiversity.
I sincerely believe that Pakistani media should continue and push this agenda forward at various platforms and forums and keep inspiring ordinary citizen to become active conservationist to protect nature.
However, the Pakistani media can still do more to bridge the gap between the knowledge gathered in the field on the labs regarding conservation to the mass. Many scientific documents are restricted to journals, newsletters, bulletins and magazines; and could not reach people at the ground level.
The media can play a significant role in facilitating this lab to land transition of information in simple, non-technical words to the mass. This approach could have significant role in educating an American people across Pakistan.
Local media and press both in English and vernacular languages such as Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi can help to build awareness regarding the importance of conservation of forests, wildlife and biodiversity across Pakistan.
Several incidents of trophy hunting as well as hunting for bush meat is quite popular in different parts of the country with irreversible damage to the local ecosystems and environment. The media can help filling these knowledge gaps and make common citizens to be aware of their unique heritage and natural resources that needs protection from relentless persecution and over exploitation.
Continuous and consistent efforts by the media is therefore extremely important for building up nation wide consensus regarding the importance of conservation of forests, wildlife and biodiversity in Pakistan.
I sincerely believe with increasing strength and standard of the media in Pakistan, huge positive changes are awaiting in the nation and her citizens in building a sustainable and environment friendly society where there is place for people and the natural world together to coexist with peace and prosperity.