Once upon a time there use to be vast swaths of marshes and wetlands across Sind, Pakistan that was home to an amazing diversity of fauna and flora but now what remains is landscape that is plagued by human agricultural intensification and hunting pressure that threatens some of the world’s most endangered species with extinction.
One such species is the Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), that is now an endangered species threatened throughout its old haunts from Pakistan to island of Java in Indonesia. Once common around the marshes, wetlands and mangroves of Southern & South-east Asia, widespread destruction and fragmentation of its habitat, pollution and hunting has pushed this species to the edge of extinction.
In Pakistan, Fishing cats were found along the wetlands and marshes of river Indus but since the past few decades this species has almost gone extinct from its entire range. The remnants of the population that survives in Sind province are now under pressure from urban development, deforestation, agricultural conversion, pollution and climate change. To add further with the list of threats this incredible species is ruthlessly hunted for its prized skin that fetches high price in the black market.
Recently in the Dawn News an article was published erroneously headlined, ‘Indian’ cheetah cub shot dead’. But Indian Cheetah aptly known as Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) are long extinct from India and only a small and precariously declining population of 40-70 individuals survives in Iran’s vast central desert. The medium sized cat that was killed was a Fishing cat that crossed over from India to the district of Badin in Sind. Sind offers the last refuge to this endangered cat before it goes extinct forever from Pakistan.
Social media and newspapers are filled with photographs of hunters posting pictures of endangered wild cats like Common leopard, Fishing cat and other species either hunted as trophy, pest or captured as pets. If the Government of Pakistan does not takes tough action to put a full stop on this massacre then it won’t be long that we would be losing our wild cats like the Asiatic lion, Bengal Tiger and possibly the Asiatic Cheetah lost from Pakistan.
Salman Khan aka “GreenGuru“ is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. A millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company – “Wild Planet” – as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” – a new age naturalistic spiritualism.
#RIPStatao How A Legend Has Fallen By Mark Deeble
Originally posted on Mark Deeble:
When I last wrote about Satao, I felt that I couldn’t use his name. I could refer to him only as a ‘magnificent tusker’ or an ‘iconic Tsavo bull’. I feared that naming him would risk revealing where he lived. Now that I can use it, I wish that that I couldn’t.
On the 30th May, poachers finally caught up with Satao. An arrow smeared with Acokanthera poison hit him in his left flank and penetrated his body cavity. It travelled right through to his vital organs. To begin with, he might have run, to get deeper inside the park, where he felt safe. Running would have made the poison work faster. He didn’t get very far. Eventually he stood still in open ground, not a mile from the park boundary – with the potent cardio-toxin coursing through him. Without any cover to hide his tusks, he’d have felt exposed…
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Tharparkar is a far flung desert region in the south eastern corner Sindh province of Pakistan home to a population of about 1.5 million people , that are well known for their vibrant culture and peaceful existence with nature.
But for the past few days national news coverage is highlighting the plight of the people of Thar as the region is declared to be under severe drought due to climate change and inaction of the authorities has till now caused the loss of innocent lives. Up to 41 children have now died due to malnutrition and hunger, further 100 children have been hospitalized because of the prevailing shortage of food and water within the affected area.
Climate change is emerging as a lethal threat in exacerbating the drought conditions of the areas especially after months of no rain. The latest report on “State of the Climate” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – points out to that chance of reemergence of El Niño has significantly increased, leading to an ever increase in drier conditions and failure of winter precipitation that resulted in the drought.
As El Niño developed further, beneficial rains that could have brought much-needed relief to the drought-stricken areas failed, leading to the apocalyptic situation seen now. NOAA’s climate data center has highlighted that the Southern Sindh already was under record driest conditions in January. Based on the current climate model data, it appears that in January, the global average temperature were 4th warmest on record.
The major cause of such calamity is to be blamed not only on climate change, as the negligence of corrupt political regime of the province has added fuel to fire. Till now Pakistan’s People Party – PPP, the main political stakeholder of the region has done nothing to provide relief for the affected victims of their consistency. It has been appalling to witness the sight of dying children in this day and age that in a country that pride itself as a nuclear power with one of the largest armed forces in the world.
The regional government had recently spend billions on extravagant and absurd cultural festival that was intended to portray a softer image of Pakistan but has also to question the governance priorities of the regional government that is plagued by corruption and a tendency to be apathetic towards their own people that is leading to such dire situation of negligence and misery which is responsible for mass starvation and forced migration of the local residents from a region that only months ago had boosted agricultural surplus that it exported to neighboring provinces.
If such situation continues to persists in Pakistan, where threat of climate-fueled droughts and floods is not mitigated, failure of ineffective development policies are not reversed and a cohesive strategy to manage such disasters is not implemented then severe consequence of inaction would be unavoidable as this would eventually lead to a “cascading systems failure” that poses risk to Pakistan’s national security and economic stability.
Salman aka “GreenGuru“ is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. A millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company – “Wild Planet” – as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” – a new age naturalistic spiritualism.
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The WordPress.com prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Conservationist conducted a survey in the vast expanse of Cholistan desert along the Indo-Pak border have rediscovered the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) in Pakistan, one of the world’s rarest bird once thought extinct in the country raises the hope of joint collaborative effort to save this endangered bird and bolster peace between the two nuclear armed neighbors .
This is a significant find of global importance for conservation and international relations, to save this species is one of conservation’s most daunting task edge as only a few hundreds are left near the edge of extinction. Great Indian Bustard are one of the world’s heaviest and largest flying bird found only in India and Pakistan, unfortunately they are one of the world’s rarest bird too.
Great Indian Bustard was evaluated as a critically endangered bird (meaning it is highly vulnerable to extinction) by IUCN in 2011, when it was estimated that only 250 mature individuals remain mainly in India and a handful in Pakistan. This majestic bird is threatened by multitude of threats like habitat loss, hunting and direct disturbance.
Great Indian Bustard has been assessed by conservationist to become functionally extinct within few decades if conservation action is not taken by relevant authorities in India and Pakistan to protect them. Indian state of Rajasthan (which is the stronghold for this iconic bird) recently announced it’s very own $2 million “Project Great Indian Bustard” to save the bustard from extinction , but would this project be successful when birds which don’t recognize international borders are bluntly hunted in Pakistan. A research study from 2001-2004 found that out of the total 63 birds that entered Pakistan’s Cholistan desert, 49 were killed and sold in the market .
Proposed solution to save this iconic birds from extinction according to me are the following:
1- Establishment of Protected Areas Network/ Peace Parks along India and Pakistan border,
2- A collaborative initiative, working group and task force must be created to assist conservation effort between India and Pakistan,
3- Scientific expertise, technology and techniques must be shared to promote a concerted international effort directed towards Great Indian Bustard conservation.
Inaction, political interference and lack of co-operation between India and Pakistan to save this bird would not only cost us the future of this critically endangered bird but a hope for peace and conflict resolution between contested neighbors will too be lost forever. We need peace and progress to prevail between India and Pakistan and the conservation of Great Indian Bustard would help us accomplish that beautiful vision.
Salman aka “GreenGuru” is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. He is a millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company - “Wild Planet” - as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” – a new age naturalistic spiritualism.
Follow me now and contacts that are listed below:
The frozen wilderness of planet earth enchants me,
Envisioning the first flight of an albatross chick inspires me,
Mesmerized I’m by the synchronized courting of the penguins,
Emotively pleased I’m by the grandeur breaching of a humpback,
I’m in love all over again with my one true love,
An everlasting love that would never fade away.
“There shall come a day when Birds shall be free & humans will see”