PEN (Preservation of Environment and Nature) is another programme of the ZKF under which various projects of biodiversity can be undertaken. Importance is given to this sector because this part of the world can be on the verge of an environmental disaster sooner than expected. With the power of the pen, policies of the government, mindset of the public, communities and media on these issues can also be influenced, improved and more awareness brought.
From 2001 to 2003, the PEN programme was running the “Malakand Biodiversity Conservation Project” (MBCP) in tribal areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) which share their borders with Afghanistan and where the mountains of the Malakand, Bajaur and Mohmand tribal agencies meet. The immediate target area is the two Union Councils (UCS) of Kot and Sillai Patti. This project is funded by UNDP/GEF(Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Programme) while ZKF/PEN is the implementing agency with the collaboration of the NWFP Department of Wildlife. ZKF/ MBCP has a field office in Kot which is now managed by Mr. Aslam son of the late Mr.Ghulam Habib Khan the former Hon.Wildlife Warden.
Following are the salient features of this project:
- To mobilize the local communities and educate them about the project objectives of biodiversity conservation.
- Form Village Committees (VCs) in four major villages. VC will be called the Kalli Committee(KC). Each Committee will choose a leader amongst themselves.
- Our chosen heads of the KCs will form a Loya Committee. All future decisions of the project will be taken in consultation with the Loya Committee.
- In agreement with the Loya Committee, the two UCs were declared as the Community Game Reserve (CGR).
- Basic aim of MBCP was to control the indiscriminate shooting of local game birds and animals and conserve their habitat in the CGR. For this, ten community wildlife watchers have been employed, trained and deployed since 01 July 2003.
- Survey and conserve the remaining (nearly extinct) species of Kabul Markhor (Capra falconeri) trophy hunting tag for which stood over US$ 55,000. It is included in the IUCN Red Book of Threatened Species at S.No:16
- Conserve the already sighted species of Goral (Naemorhedus goral) which are listed in S.No:73 of the Red Book.
- Once conserved, allow and organise trophy hunting and game bird shooting from which 80-90 % benefit will reach the community for their welfare projects and who have become more involved in conservation.
- Promote use of fuel efficient cooking and heating technology which has been introduced in the CGRs which can be used for cooking, room and water heating simultaneously while the smoke escapes through the metal pipe chimney thus reducing diseases of lungs and eyes which is very common. Corn cobs, pine cones, dry twigs and rice husk bricks can also be used as fuel in these. They are 50 to 60 % fuel efficient.
- Attract donors towards the educational and health needs of the far flung villages and hamlets where these facilities and services are provided by the government departments on paper only. The only Government High School for boys in Kot is declared dangerous for use since six years where 1200 pupils read.
- The most unique factor is that the tribal elders have decided since last ten years to send the girls of classes 9th and 10th to sit in the above mentioned dangerous school as there is only one middle school for girls in the area. This is the most unique and positive attitude for any rural community in Pakistan where boys and girls are segregated after primary education in govt. run schools.
Shooting Season Starts:
Three years operational period of MBCP project ended in November 2006.
You shall be pleased to know that the illegal shooting and trapping of game birds is now controlled by more than 95 %. Local Village Committees of the communities are formed, 4 out of 10 community wildlife watchers and one Coordinator are now employed by the department of Wildlife, NWFP who are answerable to their superiors in the WL Deptt. They are also trained as guides to the bird shooters.
Three Community Game Reserves are established where the Village WL Committee is empowered to enforce the law against illegal hunting and shooting.
During the legal shooting season between November and March game bird shoot is allowed only on Sundays or public holidays. For the permit of shooting eight birds, the fee to be deposited in advance is Rs.1000. Out of these, Rs.900 (90 %) will go to the community bank account which is managed and operated by the Village Committee Head along with the DFO of Wildlife Deptt. This amount can only be used for community welfare and developmental purposes. License fee is Rs.1000 which is valid for one calendar year ending 31 December.
Bird shooters are therefore, cordially invited to plan a shoot in this season. Come one come all. This semi- tribal area is very safe for women and / or foreigners. Just try the legendary Pathan tribal hospitality.
Accommodation for overnight stay with local families, security, shooting permits and licenses can be arranged by the project staff and Wildlife Department in Peshawar. For those, who want to learn to shoot or do not possess a shotgun, the same can be arranged for extra costs.
NB: Costs other than shooting permits and licenses can be confirmed from:
Plan development of eco-tourism in the CGR.
This CGR has a great potential for eco-tourism development as this area was not only the passage of Alexander the Great and his columns but also holds rich heritage of the Buddhist period of 700-900 years BC. In addition, it also offers a beautiful landscape.
Although some tribal areas are unfortunately notoriously known for being a safe haven for criminals and open markets for weapons and drugs but this CGR area is exceptionally very fortunate as the local elders and community have decided since last thirty years not to carry weapons in the open but prefer a pen over a gun. Hence, the eagerness to be literate and educated amongst the young and old is most surprising for a tribal area which is now under world’s attention in the media due to its close proximity with Afghanistan and the stories linked to it.
Click Here to see samples of Fuel Efficient Stoves
ZKF had complained to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) in June 2011 about the construction of new flyover in front of Nishtarabad and cutting of over 300 trees on both sides of G.T Road thus causing a great environmental hazard.
As a result of that, a public hearing was organised by EPA in Government High School No.1, Peshawar on 19th September 2011 from 1100 to 1400 hrs in which Director planning of Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) was invited to defend their project. Over 50 residents of the area attended to register their complaints.
A Sub-Committee of different community representatives was formed to meet on 22nd September in ZKF Office to point out problems on ground but not surprisingly, the PDA representatives did not turn up.
However, few local NGOs have gone into a Writ Petition to the Peshawar High Court in October 2011. In its last hearing on 15th May 2012, ZKF sought permission from the Honorable Chief Justice to permit ZKF to be a fresh party as Petitioner. This request was granted and ZKF will soon submit its rejoinder to the comments of the Respondents.