Wildlife we need to protect in Pakistan

By Fatima Shaheen Niazi

Pakistan is an exquisite land blessed with astounding natural wonders. And in these beautiful mountains, meadows and lakes, reside a few rare species of mammals and birds. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge and awareness, these animals are often not given the habitat they deserve. This in effect, has led to many species becoming endangered.

According to a report by the Ministry of Climate Change, there are around 90 species of mammals, birds and reptiles in Pakistan that face a threat of extinction. Due to lack of knowledge, most of them remain unprotected by provincial and territorial wildlife laws.

The question that may arise in the minds of many is, why should we protect endangered species? It’s because these animals are essential for humans as well. Their existence is a part of the ecosystem that works on purifying the environment so people can continue to live healthy lives.

The fact is, extinction of a single species of animals or birds can cause a domino effect, further causing danger for other life forms.

However, saving the world is not an impossible task. All we need to do is brush up on our knowledge and do our part in protecting the wildlife. Following are a few endangered animals that are edging towards extinction in the near future.

Indus dolphin

Photo credit: Animalplanet.com

One of the rarest mammals that are found only in Asia, the Indus dolphins are around 8.5 feet long and reside in the Indus River.

The mammals that are believed to have originated in the ancient Tethys Sea, have small eyes and are considered to be blind. Unfortunately, there are only around 1000 of these dolphins left, and if action isn’t taken to protect them, they may cease to exist.

Why are they threatened?

The reasons range from water pollution, poaching, and fishermen killing the dolphins. Fishing nets in the area are also causing problems for this species since dolphins need to come out of the water to breathe. The nets limit their movement, in effect restricting them to suffocate underwater.

Siberian crane 

Photo credit: RBTH.com

The critically endangered Siberian Crane is a migratory bird that may have existed for millions of years, but may soon be extinct. There are around 275 of these birds left in the world.

Why are they threatened?

Since these cranes migrate often, they face tough climatic conditions that have caused their number to decrease heavily. The wetlands  the birds need to breed have also diminished to a great extent. If this wasn’t enough, there are also hunters who illegally kill these birds. 

Hawksbill turtle

Photo credit: Earth.com

Found in Pakistan in 2014, the species of sea turtle is found in tropical oceans around the world. Around 30 to 35 inches long, the Hawksbill turtle has been declared critically endangered under the IUCN Red Data List.

Why are they threatened?

Hawksbill turtles are threatened because of underwater pollution, fishing and wildlife trade. Unfortunately, the shells of these turtles are used as jewellery, whereas their eggs are eaten in various parts of the world.

Balochistan black bear

Photo credit: Zameen.com

The Balochistan black bear is found in the province of Balochistan and its natural habitat is high hill ranges. The bear is nearly extinct in most of the areas around the jurisdiction and is listed in the IUCN Red List as ‘Critically Endangered’.

Why are they threatened?

The black bears are victim to urbanisation and being captured to be kept as pets. The bears are also used in dog fights in some regions where they are paired against dogs while bets are placed on which animal will survive. Farmers too, kill the bears if they feel their livestock is being attacked by the mammal.

The red-headed vulture

Photo credit: IUCNredlist

The critically endangered bird species is huge in size and a beautiful sight to look at. Found in low numbers across Pakistan and India, the vulture has been declared critically endangered. According to the IUCN Red List, there are only 2,500-9,999 of the species left.

Why are they threatened?

One of the main causes of the vulture reaching extinction is because the livestock it hunts and consumes is treated by veterinary drugs. The Red-headed Vulture is also threatened by hunting and diseases.

Some other endangered birds and mammals on the list:

  • White-rumped vulture
  • Long-billed vulture
  • Kashmir grey langue
  • Finback whale
  • Hog deer
  • Egyptian vulture
  • Green turtle
  • Indian narrow-headed turtle
  • Asiatic Cheetah
  • Musk deer

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