Recently a film on markhor named ‘Cliffhangers of Chitral’ was shown by Pakistan at the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Programme conference held in Paris. It was much appreciated and well-received by the participants.

Snow Leopard and Markhor are two majestic and precious wildlife species in Pakistan that share the same habitat. They are mostly found in the mountains of Chitral, Kohistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. They are globally listed as Endangered Species. According to estimates there are just 200-400 snow leopards and a healthy 6,000 makhor population surviving in Pakistan while the global population is estimated at 6,000 and 9,000 respectively. A trophy hunting programme of Markhor is in place in Chitral and Kohistan through which a huge amount of money is earned which is spent on the development of the local communities.

Unfortunately, the climate change on the Hindukush and Hamalyas has an adverse impact on the habitat of these precious wildlife species. Due to fast deforestation and melting of the glaciers they sometimes dwell into nearby human population. This poses a danger to their lives as well as to human lives. The death of a boy and two women have already been reported from Galyat area of Abbottabad due to attack of snow leopard.

There is a need to enhance conservation efforts of the ecosystem of these endangered species. If drastic measure were not taken for improvement of their natural habitat and stopping the factors that are causing the climate change, the habitat of snow leopard and markhor is likely to be destroyed and their population diminished.

M SAYYAD ALAM KHAN,

Peshawar, December 8.