Posted on 26 June 2020
Lahore, 26 June 2020:
WWF-Pakistan is deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Sardar Naseer Tareen, a renowned conservationist who was a board member of WWF-Pakistan from 1997 to 2000 and member of WWF-Pakistan’s Scientific Committee, on 24 June 2020 in Lahore. Sardar Naseer Tareen worked with WWF-Pakistan for three years and later became the Chairman of Society for Turgur Environmental Protection (STEP).
Sardar Naseer Tareen had an affinity for wildlife conservation from early on. He studied filmmaking from the California Institute of Arts and made several documentaries including “Wildlife of Balochistan” on the teeming wildlife in the province, focusing his attention on the Turgur Mountains. This region was replete with wildlife such as the Suleman markhor and Afghan urial. He was deeply concerned with the decline in their numbers due to poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
Tareen led the movement of community-based conservation through a trophy-hunting programme and, with the help of funding from the US, founded Turgur Conservation Project (TCP) in 1985. Through his ingenuity and hard work, a complete ban was imposed on hunting in the region. In order to make his effort self-sustaining, Tareen started a trophy hunting programme by using it as a tool which would help regulate the population of markhors and urials. This aimed to yield positive results and improve livelihoods and employment through the inflow of cash from the initiative. According to a survey and research conducted by the Montana State University in 2013, the population of Suleman markhor and Afghan urial increased significantly in the area.
Naseer was appointed Knight of the Order of the Golden Ark in 1996 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in recognition of his conservation efforts and also received the Suleman Markhor Conservation Award for his extraordinary contribution and work to protect the species.
Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan said “We are profoundly saddened at the death of Sardar Naseer Tareen, who also served as WWF-Pakistan board member and pioneered community-based trophy hunting of Suleiman markhor and Afghan urial in Balochistan. Naseer sahib was a maverick in his field. Not only was he exceptionally humble, he was outspoken and a very down to earth man. He will surely be missed for being a splendid person and for the wealth of knowledge and information that he had. Pakistan has lost a passionate conservationist, filmmaker and a wonderful man today
WWF-Pakistan is grateful to Tareen’s pioneering contributions towards conservation in Pakistan. The organization hopes his high professional standards, immense dedication and innovate approach will be an enduring example of what one individual can contribute to the collective good.