World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF – P) organized a Conservation Awards Ceremony on Thursday in Karachi. The ceremony aimed at creating awareness about environmental issues, conservation of natural resources of country and mitigating pollution. During the ceremony, the Syed Asad Ali Conservation Award (SAAC), the Living Planet Award and Women in Nature Conservation Award were distributed among conservationists.
Speaking on the occasion, Mushtaq Ali Memon, Secretary Sindh Wildlife department said that Sindh is fortunate enough to have the vast range of biodiversity resources such as Hog Deer, Otter and Indus River Dolphin which are ecologically important. WWF-Pakistan has successfully completed the first phase of Indus for All Programme in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, including the Government of Sindh. He further said that the department has closely been associated with WWF Pakistan at various initiatives. ‘WWF - Pakistan has also supported the department in submitting draft for revision of Sindh Forest Act 1927 and Sindh Wildlife Act 1972 that I believe are the ecologically significant achievements of WWF Pakistan’, he added.
Addressing the ceremony, Khalid Mahmood, President WWF – Pakistan said that award recipients had highlighted the need of sustainability of conservation efforts which were only possible through the mutual support of organizations and passionate individuals.
Dr. Ejaz Ahmad, Senior Director WWF – Pakistan said that the awards are presented to passionate individuals and organizations for doing excellent work in conservation of nature and protection of the endangered species.
The Syed Asad Ali Conservation (SAAC) Award was given to pay tribute to Syed Asad Ali for his contributions to conserve wildlife and natural resources of the country. This year the Award was presented to Abdul Ghani (late), Muhammad Yousaf and Syed Baqel Shah for their efforts as conservationists in their respective areas. Abdul Ghani (late), an environmental martyr was selected for this award for his dedicated efforts for the conservation of Mangroves in Kakapir Village, Sandspit. While, Syed Baqel Shah was selected to sensitize local community for the protection of partridges in Thatta resultant of which the community declared 23 km area as no-hunting zone. Muhammad Yousaf also received the award who lost his seven year old son, in the Common leopard attack in Abbottabad last year was selected for the SAAC Award for the exceptional attitude in this situation. He also played an instrumental role in resolving conflict between wildlife authorities and the local community.
The Living Planet Award is given to those organisations and researchers that have made a significant contribution to nature conservation through WWF – Pakistan’s Small Grant Programme funded projects This year’s award was presented to Nature Conservation Committee for initiating community based conservation of Pheasants in Hattian Dopatta, AJ&K and Sonmiani Development Organization for the promotion of eco-tourism and conservation of natural resources at Sonmiani. Dr. Amtul Jamil Sami from University of the Punjab received this award for her research on the genetics of Indus river dolphin (Platanista minor).
The ceremony also included the launch of WWF – Pakistan’s Women in Nature Conservation Award. This Award would recognize commendable achievement of individual woman to the field of nature conservation at grass-root level in Pakistan. Bibi Sanaz from Balochistan was selected for this award for her devotion and dedication towards the protection of bojowa tree which brought a transformation into the community’s mindset towards nature conservation. Hajira Bibi was selected for the award for mobilising female community members to take part in the management and conservation of natural resources at Keti Bunder. Bibi Miraj also received this award her dedicated efforts towards raising awareness about the protection of natural resources amongst the women of Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan. Hameeda Keerio from Shaheed Benazirabad received this award for the promotion of alternative livelihood opportunities for the female community associated with tree cutting in Nawbshah. Nazeeran Bibi was selected for the award for her countless efforts towards women development and conservation of natural resources in Chotiari.
Syed Mehmood Nasir Inspector General Forests, Ministry of Climate Change; Ali Hassan Habib, Director General WWF – Pakistan and Rab Nawaz Director Sindh WWF - Pakistan also spoke on the occasion
Mr. Khalid Mahmood, President WWF - Pakistan and Ali Hassan Habib, Director General, WWF – Pakistan distributed the awards, certificates and cheques of Rs. 50,000/- among the recipients of Syes Asad Ali Conservation Award and Living Planet Award. Certificates of appreciation were also presented to Mr. Jawwad Owias Khan, Collector Customs (Exports) and Dr. Amna Naeem, Assistant Collector of Customs (Exports) of Pakistan Customs for confiscating the consignment of illegal leather jackets with fur trimming demonstrating commitment to conserve wildlife of Pakistan.