KARACHI: A two-day regional symposium on marine turtle conservation organized by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Karachi concluded on Wednesday at a local hotel. It was organized in collaboration with the USAID’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program under its Ambassador’s Fund Program.
Speakers reached a consensus that as the life of a person is precious in the same way wildlife is so valuable. The symposium called for taking steps to protect wildlife on earth.
A media briefing was also held today during the program in which Country Representative IUCN Pakistan Mehmood Akhtar Cheema said there is dire need to aware people about turtles and other wildlife conservation, as the people living with low status had no knowledge about these precious species. He said the wildlife has social, economic and cultural values in different areas and in Pakistan, especially in Sindh and Balochistan, where variety of turtles are found, there is immense need to demonstrate the messages in local languages.
Faisal Siddiqui, an advocate, said Sindh High Court had issued verdict against a wildlife trafficker in which the court bound federal and provincial governments to take strict measures for stopping the smuggle of turtles and other species. He said it was responsibility of government to protect wildlife, as wildlife department had given authorities to tackle all the smuggling activities which cause huge loss to Pakistan’s economy.
Siddiqui said alleged smuggler Sajid attempted to illegally smuggle black spotted turtles to foreign countries, and customs had also arrested him at Karachi airport, confiscated seized turtles worth about Rs 6 billion and handed him over to Sindh wildlife department.
Sindh wildlife department registered a criminal case against the accused under Sindh Wildlife Ordinance, 1972 but on the other side, the court released the alleged smuggler on a bail and ordered release of the turtles into the wild. He said federal and provincial governments should come up with a detailed program that how they would stop the smuggling of wildlife and ensure the safety of species.
Sindh Fisheries Department Director General Ghulam Mohammad Mahar said turtles in Pakistan are not eaten as food. He said the smuggling of such species become a cause of terrorism. He said if a person smuggles drugs, he could be caught easily, but no one dares to stop smuggling of turtles.
Mahar said the cause of increasing contamination in sea was the reduction of sea species because they consume pollution as food.
Clara Nobee, Coordinator/CMS Program said organizations are aimed at supporting the governments so as to strengthen the activities in different sectors. She said the organizations believe that without the coordination and proper facilities, both ends are unable to achieve the goals.
IUCN Regional Director Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Turtile Specialist Group Co-Chair Dr Niclos, US Consulate Karachi Economic Officer Alexander Orr, IUCN Global and Regional Councillor West Asia Vice President Malik Ameen Aslam, Shams Memon, and Syed Mehmood Nasir also spoke on the occasion.
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