PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan has successfully achieved the target of increasing the area of protected areas to 15% of the total area of the province for the protection of wildlife in the province which is equivalent to 10% of the total area of the province.
The Wildlife Department has set up nine National Parks, 87 Community Game Reserves, 38 Public Game Reserves and five other protected areas in different districts of the province covering a total area of more than 1.564 million hectares 15.38% of the total area of the province.
This was stated at a meeting of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife and Biodiversity Board chaired by Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan here yesterday. The meeting was informed that progress was also being made in designating more suitable places in the province as Protected Areas, including Rakh Topi National Park, Goshar National Parks, Bishkargol Biosphere Reserve and Koh-i-Sulaiman Conservancy.
Describing the achievement of the target of increasing the area of protected areas in the province as an important achievement of the provincial government, the Chief Minister said that it would ensure the protection of wildlife in the province, especially valuable species of animals and birds. Preventing them from occurring and their breeding will be of great help in breeding. The Chief Minister termed the precious wildlife as extremely important for the protection of future generations and protection of the natural environment and directed the concerned authorities to pay special attention to further increase the area of protected areas in the province for this purpose.
Provincial Minister for Forests and Environment Ishtiaq Armor, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Information Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, Secretary Dr Shehzad Bangash, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Amjad Ali Khan and Secretary Forest and Environment Muhammad Abid Majeed besides Administrative Secretaries and Departments of the concerned departments. Top wildlife officials attended the meeting. The meeting also approved to provide financial assistance to the employees of Wildlife Department who were injured or martyred in the line of duty like other government employees. The Board meeting also approved the establishment of a Biodiversity Fund in the light of the relevant Act for sustainable measures for the protection of wildlife and other biodiversity. The board also gave conditional approval to award zoo staff on an annual basis.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister directed the concerned authorities to open all the zoos for families only on Saturdays and Sundays and take necessary steps to protect the animals in the zoos from seasonal effects and diseases and ensure their safety.