A gang of 20 poachers with 20 dogs was intercepted by Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) in their attempt to hunt for endangered species in the Margalla Hills National Park
According to IWMB officials, more than 20 people entered the Margalla Hills Trail-III with hounds. The hunters had shown up in a Vigo vehicle, two Corolla cars, and white pickup full of hounds. According to the officials, guards and board officials intercepted them and forced them to flee.
According to IWMB officials, a case has been registered in Kohsar police station and further investigation was launched. Meanwhile, police have formed a team to identify the illegal hunters and their vehicles with the help of Islamabad Safe City cameras. The board officials told that they would not allow anyone to destroy the natural environment and biodiversity of Margalla Hills.
Hunting in the Margallas is banned under the Islamabad Wildlife Management Ordinance 1979 and Section 144. Conservationists say the animals likely drifted to the Margalla area – foothills of the Himalayan mountains – as it became heavily forested over the years. And they stayed on because they found prey, a stable environment and an ecosystem that could support them.
People living in villages around Margalla Hills National Park are disturbing wildlife habitats.
The increasing population pressures, cutting of trees for firewood, hunting of wild goats and jungle fowl and grazing of domestic animals may lead to human-animal conflicts, an official said.
In late Nov 2022, a gang of hunters with three dogs has been intercepted by the Wildlife Board in its attempt to hunt for endangered species in the Margalla Hills National Park. It occurred on grounds of local visitors facility that has sprawled into the national park. When the hunters found out officials of the Board,they immediately fled from the scene but they left behind their three hunting dogs that are now in the custody of the Board.
The officials have also found out a wild boar that was tied with a rope by the hunters. Later, they released it into the forest area. The local people have informed that the hunters from Rawalpindi and adjoining areas capture the wild boars with the help of dogs and then use them for gambling in rural areas. In this kind of gambling that is banned under the law, wild boars are brutally injured by the hunting dogs.
Some people term it a sport but it is an illegal activity in which wild animals are injured for gambling purposes. Wildlife species like wild boars, pheasants and leopards are local species protected by law under the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance, 1979.
The wild animals like to stay in thick forests where they find prey, a stable environment and an ecosystem that makes them feel comfortable. As far as the encroachments are concerned IWMB lacks powers to physically stop them but existing law is very clear when it comes to protection of local wildlife species.
An official of the Board commenting on the incident said that “we are making every possible effort to stop different illegal mafias, hunters and wood cutters from damaging our national park. But we still need powers to take effective action against such elements.”
In Nov 2022, the IWMB foiled an illegal hunting attempt within the premises of Islamabad Club and confiscated the hounds used in boar hunting. The action was taken on a tip-off of an informer who noticed some suspicious activity in the forest area adjacent to the Islamabad Club. The team of IWMB reached the spot to launch a punitive action which was resisted by the Club’s guards and they did not allow the board officials to enter the premises to arrest the culprits.
The hunters escaped after noticing the board team who had captured a wild boar with its mouth and limbs fastened tightly to let loose the hounds for hunting. “The hounds are now in the IWMB’s possession. The wild boar was severely bitten all over his body. As per the Wildlife Ordinance, hunting was strictly prohibited within the limits of Islamabad and its protected area of Margalla Hills National Park whereas the incident site was also part of the protected area.
The wild boar was captured by the hunters who hailed from South Punjab who intended to first have the boar hunting here and then to take the prey animal to train other hounds or dogs on hunting in their native area.