Call for Urgent Conservation Program in Tharparkar's Ecosystem
Tharparkar’s natural ecosystem needs the establishment of a conservation program for critically endangered plant species, including the development of a seed bank and the promotion of sustainable harvesting practices.
This was recommended in the IUCN-SECMC Report and Documentary on Biodiversity of Thar which was launched in a ceremony at a local hotel on 15th November, 2023.
The report also indicated the need for implementation of a community-based conservation program for the threatened animal and plant species, including awareness-raising campaigns and the development of alternative livelihoods for local communities. This report is a two-and-a-half-year study conducted by a team of experts from Sindh Wildlife Department, Zoological Society of Pakistan, Baanh Beli and distinguished academic institutions.
Dr. Muzafar Hussain Sirohi, Botanical Expert, Khairpur University, Prof. Z.B. Mirza, Conservationist and Lead Author of the study, and Naveed Ali Soomro, Manager Sindh Programme IUCN Pakistan gave a featured presentation on the overall study while Representative of the Sindh Forest Department, delivered a special address.
“This is the first of its kind study that has been done in the district Tharparker region to document the existing flora and fauna in the region, analyse their distribution patterns, evaluate their susceptibility, and identify potential threats to these invaluable natural assets,” said Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan.
Mr Cheema added that the survey discovered 149 plant species in the area, including some previously unknown to the region while the survey documented a total 205 bird species, 41 mammal species, 31 reptile and amphibian species, and 1,065 invertebrate species in the region.
Amir Iqbal, CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and Thar Foundation (TF), in his keynote address, said “Through the partnership with IUCN, we are dedicated to supporting the sustainability and enhancement of the Tharparkar's region. The report's findings will showcase the beauty and fascination of Tharparkar, raising much-needed awareness and efforts for the region's ecological treasures.”
He further added, that the livestock and agriculture are the one of the crucial economic activities of the community in Tharparkar as the animals feed freely in the rangelands, which are the natural habitats of many plant and animal species.
“The documented species were also assessed against the IUCN Red List of threatened flora and fauna and found 3 birds and 1 plant species to be critically endangered, 2 birds and 1 plant species to be endangered, 6 birds vulnerable, 10 birds, and 1 mammal and 1 reptile to be near threatened,” said Mr. Cheema.
It is worth noting that the report was formulated by IUCN Pakistan in Partnership with the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) under its CSR project “Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation in Thar”.