Preventing smuggling: Wildlife Dept, WWF to raise awareness
LAHORE: The Wildlife Department and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will together set up information desks at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore and the Benazir International Airport in Islamabad to raise awareness regarding the protection of wildlife and to discourage smuggling of endangered species. This was announced at a meeting of the Wildlife and Parks Department on Wednesday. Khalid Ayaz Khan, the director general of the department, said the signature on an agreement between the Wildlife and Parks Department, the WWF and Civil Aviation will be obtained soon.
Khan said the department was taking steps to raise awareness among people regarding the protection of wildlife and the elimination of smuggling endangered wild species. He said in the first phase, the counters would be installed at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore and at the Benazir International Airport in Islamabad. In the second phase, an information desk will be set up at the Faisalabad Airport.
Khan said that the counters would not only help the department disseminate information regarding the importance of protection of wildlife but will also help them eliminate smuggling of wildlife. He said a representative of the Wildlife Department, with powers equal to that of an inspector, will be present at the counter at all times along with a representative of the WWF. He said previously the Civil Aviation had only allowed the Wildlife Department limited access to cargo. “This has not had a major impact on the crackdown against smuggling…the idea to set up counters is another way we can discourage the terrible trade.”
He said pamphlets and brochures will be available at the counters, along with other information regarding wildlife awareness. He said the focal person of the Wildlife Department at the Benazir International Airport Islamabad would be Deputy Director Muhammad Anwar Maan. Abdul Shakoor Manj will man the counter at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.