ISLAMABAD   -  The first National Red Data Book survey, a detailed data of endangered species of mammals facing threat of extinction, is in full swing amid limited financial allocations due to COVID-19 to assess the population of declining species and outcome of its conservation initiatives across the country. 

The Ministry of Climate Change has maintained the survey of mammals under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project (phase-I) despite major cut in PSDP releases of 80 per cent in funds being provided under the project amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

Project Director TBTT Joint Secretary MoCC Suleman Khan Warraich told APP that there was no such credible data available related to mammals and other native wildlife species for informed decision making. 

“All the policies formed earlier have been developed superfluously based on estimated data of mammals. Due to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s keen interest in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, the ministry has taken an initiative to develop first ever National Red Data Book on Mammals of Pakistan based on population estimates, under the umbrella of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, Phase-I.”

He added that the data book was the publication of risk assessment of species in every country across the globe. “It provides complete information of rare and endangered species and about their habitats. Pakistan, for the first time is going to make a comprehensive National Red Data Book of mammals, which will provide population status of species at national level. It will assist to devise monitoring and conservation strategies for threatened species at regional level.”

Warraich said a 45-member team comprising of MoCC, Zoological Survey of Pakistan, Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department, local universities’ interns, media interns and international organisations namely IUCN and WWF was formed to conduct survey of Punjab Urial.