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WWF-Pakistan shows serious reservations on proposed trophy hunting of black bear and common leopard

Posted on 20 January 2016

Peshawar, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) has expressed serious concern over the recent announcement by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Wildlife Department regarding invitation of bids for trophy hunting of the common leopard and Himalayan black bear. WWF-Pakistan has objected to the proposal for trophy hunting of these species due to their conservation status and a wide array of threats to their existence. At present both species are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) country assessment for Pakistan.

In recent years, trophy hunting has become a subject of controversy and criticism, especially regarding those species which are wide ranging such as large carnivores. In the current situation, managing conflict between human and wildlife is crucial, and requires conservation initiatives such as compensation and insurance of livestock and its management, prey based improvement, protection of habitats, increase in protected areas and community awareness rather than trophy hunting.

Commenting on the proposal, Dr Uzma Khan, Director Species Conservation, WWF-Pakistan said that our efforts need to be geared towards conservation initiatives as there is no dedicated conservation effort for both these species. The survival of the common leopard and black bear will be even more challenging due to increasing pressure on forest resources with a growing human population. Trophy hunting of the herd living markhor and ibex cannot be compared with a wide ranging solitary predator, where one cannot select an animal to be hunted or have correct population estimates. WWF-Pakistan suggests that the provincial wildlife department should develop a well thought out human-wildlife conflict mitigation programme instead of trophy hunting with increasing protected areas and the natural prey base.’ she added.

The subject of trophy hunting of the common leopard and black bear can be challenged in the Peshawar High Court as there is a great concern for the protection of both species leopards and black bears. In order to tackle this issue, WWF-Pakistan has proposed taking concrete conservation measures such as those highlighted above. Further, to address human-wildlife conflict, WWF-Pakistan has offered assistance to the KP Wildlife Department in organizing a consultation process in the near future.


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