Gilgit-Baltistan: Survey in GB to document key characteristics of the flora and fauna by WWF

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Gilgit: An ongoing two-week long survey in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) aims to document key characteristics of the flora and fauna in the region’s wetlands. The survey was started by the World Wide Fund (WWF) under the Saving Wetlands Sky High Programme (SWSH) on September 9 and will continue till September 22. Six wetlands will be covered in the survey.

The survey will cover mammals, birds, reptiles and terrestrial vegetation found on and around the lakes, officials said on Saturday.

According to High altitude Wetlands Conservation Officer Farasat Ali, the survey team comprises a dozen experts, who will collect primary data on wetland biodiversity to explore their status, distribution, population, threats and alliance of the selected high altitude wetlands.

“We have sent teams of experts to the high altitude wetlands, selecting Ghursay Lake (Kharmang), Karfaq Lake(Ganche), Jarbasso Lake (Shigar), Birgal Lake (Ishkoman) Gahkuch MarshLand (Gahkuch) and Shandoor wetlands complex (Shandoor) for the study ,” Ali told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

The findings of the survey will soon be disseminated through reports, journals and other publications, Ali added. These will also be available in the Gilgit Conservation and Information Centre.

“It will be very beneficial for the researchers and students,” he said, adding that a new distribution of rodents, passerines, non-passerine birds, reptiles, amphibians and large mammals have so far been identified in the survey. Passerines are bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. They are also known as perching birds or less accurately as songbirds; they form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate order.

Ali said that the survey team consisted of experts from the WWF’s Saving Wetlands Sky High Programme, Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Wildlife Foundation of Pakistan, National Agricultural Research Council of Pakistan and the Karakorum International University, Thlone University of the region.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

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