islamabad - The present government is committed to stamping out with an iron hand the illegal wildlife trade in the country and is urging the relevant stakeholders to join hand with the government in such efforts.

Addressing the national consultative policy workshop on “Tackling Illegal Wildlife Trade in Pakistan through a National Monitoring Network” Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) MNA Muhammad Moeen Wattoo said that the wildlife trade is the most pressing threat to animals in many parts of the world including Pakistan. Around the globe, wildlife is being bought and sold on an increasingly colossal scale as pets, meat, food, medicine, furs, feathers, skins and trophies.

He remarked that globally illicit wildlife trafficking is valued at billions of dollars per year and the situation in Pakistan is highly upsetting. “Because, the wildlife species worth billions of dollars continue to be unlawfully trafficked to different countries from Pakistan too because of weak implementation of relevant laws, lack of technology and lack of capacity of the relevant government departments including security agencies,” he argued.

Talking about the nefarious impacts of the wildlife trade , he told the participants that the illegal wildlife trade had disturbed the country’s biological balance by overturning decades of conservation gains made by the country.

Today a number of wildlife species have reached near extinction while many others are on endangered due to this problem of unlawful wildlife trafficking.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Climate Change, Syed Rizwan Mehboob stressed upon the need to dismantle the supply chain of illegal wildlife trade in Pakistan. He also suggested the policymakers to mull over ways to tackle key causes of the wildlife trade , particularly poverty and joblessness and offer incentives to local communities for supporting government’s efforts in addressing the menace of illegal wildlife hunting and trade .

“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 .

The Climate Change Ministry’s Inspector General of Forests, Syed Mahmood Nasir, in his inaugural address 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, Syed Mahmood Nasir said while quoting from reports of UN agencies involved in checking the illegal wildlife trade .

He highlighted, “The wildlife trafficking also undermines state authority, impacting national and global security and socioeconomic development. Therefore, having realised the gravity of the issue governments across the world are making efforts to tackle this menace once and for all and Pakistan is no exception.”