BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The snow leopard is a symbol of Asia’s high mountains as it plays a vital role in the wellbeing of ecosystem.
This was what the stakeholders including students, teachers, shepherds and other youths portrayed in their drawing and sketches in a completion at Hoper of Nagar valley.
The event was organised jointly by WWF-Pakistan, Uswa Public school and Hoper Conservation Organization (HCDO) to raise awareness on “International Snow Leopard Day”.
At least 21 groups from 8 different schools in which had more than 300 students, teachers and herders, male and female youth participated in the programme.
Lion group from Uswa public school got first prize, Cheetah group from Federal Government Boys High School Hoper got second prize while Deer group of Girls Middle school Hakalshal got third prize. First and second position holders were awarded P-4 computers as a token of appreciation.
“The purpose of the awareness programme was to impart knowledge about importance of Snow leopard for the health of high altitude pastures,” said Saeed Abbas, Conservation Officer WWF-Pakistan.
As the indicator of ecosystem health in the harsh terrain it shares with many other species of wildlife and communities of pastoralists, he added.
The wild cat is also increasingly endangered across its range due to a number of threats, including climate change, habitat fragmentation, reduction of prey base and killing of snow leopards due to retaliation. “That is why in Pakistan only 200 to 350 snow leopards are alive in wild in a large habitat (80,000Sq. km).”
Shahid Hussain Nayab, principal Uswa public school Hoper and Amir Hamza, Chairman HCDO while speaking on the occasion emphasized on conservation of endangered and iconic snow leopard and wildlife species and thanked WWF-Pakistan for organizing the event for the local communities.
Participants were given prizes and certificates at the end of workshop.