islamabad - The government not only committed to stamp out illegal wildlife trade in the country with iron hand but also asked the relevant stakeholders to join government’s such efforts.

“Protecting wildlife from all sorts of threats is a top priority of the government, particularly the problem of the illicit wildlife trade ,” said an official of the climate change ministry while taking to APP.  The wildlife trade was the most pressing threat to animals in many parts of the world including Pakistan.

Around the globe, wildlife was being bought and sold on an increasingly colossal scale as pets, meat, food, medicine, furs, feathers, skins and trophies.

He said that globally illicit wildlife trafficking is valued at billions of dollars per year- behind narcotics and illegal arms trades and the situation in Pakistan is highly upsetting. To a question he said, “Awareness-raising among relevant stakeholders, capacity building of the law-enforcement agencies, custom officials and convincing them of the severity and fallouts of the illegal wildlife trade is critical to efforts aimed at weeding out the wildlife trade . He said that Illegal wildlife trade was recognised as the second biggest threat to wildlife after habitat loss. The illegal trade was estimated to generate 23 billion dollars annually globally.

Acknowledging that government alone cannot cope with the aggravating menace of the wildlife trade in the country, he urged the non-governmental organisations to join government’s efforts to save the wildlife from illicit trafficking and play their part to build up capacity of the custom officials and law-enforcing agencies to effectively and timely foil wildlife trafficking bids.  Talking about the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) he said besides increasing tree cover in the country, the initiative (GPP) also aimed to protect wildlife species and strengthen institutional capacity of the government departments to fight illegal wildlife trafficking through inter-provincial cooperation and coordination.