Gilgit-Baltistan: Two dozen wildlife guards and community representatives trained

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To streamline the census of the wildlife population on scientific lines in Gilgit-Baltistan, at least two dozen wildlife guards and community representatives hailing from various valleys were trained to use modern equipment and wildlife survey techniques.

“Unless we train the forest department staff and local communities on the use of modern equipment and techniques, we will not know exactly what the population of endangered species like markhors, snow leopards, and brown bears in our mountains is,” Zahid Shah, a conservationist who facilitated the training workshop told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

An Italian expert, Anna Bocci, was the key resource person who delivered lectures and provided hands-on training at the two-day workshop organised by WWF at its Gilgit office.

The trainees were taken into the field to let them know of the use of equipment like GPS, spotting scopes, compasses and binoculars and other equipment which are considered vital for the collection of data on scientific lines.

“It was a good experience, as communities were quick to learn the techniques and use of equipment,” said Rehmat Ali, another trainer.

The trainees belonged to four valleys – Hunza, Nagar, Ghanche, and Skardu – falling in the jurisdiction of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP), the world’s highest national park. “The training was very useful and we hope it will help us when we are in the field,” said a trainee.

Parks and Wildlife Conservator Wilayat Noor, who was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony, stressed the need for collecting authentic data of different species, particularly those falling in the endangered category. “We can’t achieve our objective unless we have accurate information about various threatened wildlife species,” he said, assuring the NGO and the trainees of government support.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.

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