ISLAMABAD: Senior Director WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Pakistan chapter and environmental expert Dr. Ejaz Ahmad Saturday urged the need for protection and conservation of wildlife in Pakistan which is most vulnerable to global warming.
Dr Ijaz said that wildlife is an important resource with economic, cultural and recreational value to humans, an integral part of biodiversity of Pakistan.
Global warming and climate change is forcing wildlife to change their behaviors adding for instance, many birds are nesting, breeding, and migrating earlier as spring arrives sooner than before, he added.
Dr Ijaz said that scientists predict that a 1.5?C global temperature rise may see 25 percent of the Earth’s animals and plants disappear; a 3?C rise may see 30 percent disappear.
He said that Pakistan’s wildlife includes 668 species of birds, 195 species of mammals and 192 species of reptiles. He said that for protection and conservation of these species and their habitat, a network of protected areas are already in place working under the Provincial Wildlife Protection Laws.
These include 26 National Parks, 92 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 89 Game Reserves and 115 Community Reserve. The network of protected areas covers about 12 percent of the land area of Pakistan.
The Earth’s average temperature has warmed by about 0.76?C over the past 100 years, with most of this warming occurring in the past 20 years, he said.
This temperature rise may appear small, but small rises in temperature translate into big changes for the world’s climate, Dr Ijaz said.
He said that huge amount of energy was being consumed across globe resulting in global warming. This extra energy is like force-feeding and changing the global climate system.
Global warming is melting glaciers in every part of the world, putting millions of people at risk from floods, droughts and shortages of drinking water in the world, he said.
Dr Ijaz said that since satellite temperature measurements systems during 1979, scotland became hottest on record, and in 2003, killed hundreds of adult salmon as rivers became too warm for them to extract enough oxygen from the water, summer temperatures in European capitals have increased by up to 2?C over the past 30 years.
“He said that rising sea levels threaten entire nations on low-lying islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans, adding global warming also contributes to Australia’s worst drought,” he said.
Dr Ijaz further said that it is good omen that government of Pakistan was conducting vulnerability assessments and recommending management strategies for some of the most important species, WWF is reccommending for.