Chitral birds fly into danger zone

OMAN TRIBUNE

CHITRAL Many species of birds, both resident and migratory, are threatened with extinction in Chitral valley, Pakistan’s scenic mountainous north, according to experts.

Masood Ali, a local biodiversity specialist, said on Friday that the tally of engendered species was fast getting bigger and the situation could worsen if they were not conserved without delay. He said Chitral district stretched over 14,850 square kilometres, nestled between Hindukush and Karakoram mountain ranges, and had a wide variation in altitude (1,094 metres in south to 7,726 metres in the north).

The biodiversity specialist said Chitral valley provided an ideal habitat for resident and migratory birds. He said birds migrating from Siberia to Pakistan’s plains in winter season passed through Baroghil Pass area of Chitral, the starting point of the River Indus.

Ali said not a single district of the country supported such species of birds totalling 195 and including chukar, Himal-ayan snow-cock, monal pheasant and snow partridges. He blamed the birds’ extinction on rampant hunting for high demand, deforestation, environmental degradation and inefficiency of wildlife staff.

The expert said many species of falcons, including peregrine falcon and saker falcon, had been declared the most endangered ones due to excessive hunting for trade.

He said scavenger vulture, Eurasian woodcock, Himalayan Griffon vulture, snow pigeon, bar-headed goose, graylag goose, marbled teal, tufted duck and pallid harrier were among the endangered species of birds.

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