ISLAMABAD  -   The Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) sprawling over 173.86 kilometers was facing problems of illegal hunting and catching (poaching) of rare wildlife species due to lack of proper gears, and resources by the authorities concerned.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Wednesday expressed concerns over lack of funds and equipment to implement modern and newly developed technology to curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the country.

Talking to APP, Assistant Director IWMB Sakhawat Ali said the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan was providing technical assistance to IWMB for implementing the latest software designed to systematically observe vast area of national parks online through smart phone devices namely Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).

He said that software was not working on the mobile phones of every staff member (Rangers conducting patrolling in the Margalla National Park) of the board which had resulted in the malfunctioning whereas the issue was reported to World Wildlife Department for resolving the matter.

He went on saying that SMART patrolling system was based on wildlife monitoring and conservation systems in the selected Protected Areas (PAs) of the country for snow leopard preservation in Gilgit-Baltistan and overall wildlife species in Margalla National Park.

Sakhawat said that the training of the staff was underway to conduct transparent and observation based monitoring through the SMART software.

“A ranger patrolling in the field cannot dodge and feed false information in the software as our working was site-based observation which makes difficult for a patrolling official to quote fictitious facts and can be easily countered in case of doing so,” he added.

At present, he said IWMB was working on the conservation of barking dears and regulation of wild boars, adding according to past year’s data and various images of cameras installed at different locations of the national park showed healthy number of barking deer reaching  to 65 in total.

He said that Margalla road and its vicinity was providing a favourable habitat for wild boars moving in the sector as most of the trash trolleys were placed across the road and the residents were also dumping food items in the garbage which provided a healthy source of eating to the boars, he added.

He informed that IWMB was conducting a research on the violent behavior of boars reported earlier where some students were injured by a boar entered in a college of the federal capital.           

“The SMART was cyber technology consisting of a software application that enables you to collect, store, communicate, and evaluate ranger-based data on: patrol efforts, patrol results, and threat levels”, said Sakhawat Ali.

He said the software was completely a modern technology based accessible both on android smart phones and personal computers having Global Positioning System (GPS), pictures and various other features that would help wildlife conservators and national park managers to handle patrolling and monitoring of vast areas under their control.