BRIEF OVERVIEW OF PUNJAB URIAL AND WILDLIFE IN PAKISTAN
The Wildlife of Pakistan truly represents the greater geographic and ecological diversity of the country. Various ecological zones, from tropical to alpine, support a great variety of wildlife species including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects. Although wildlife is on decline in Pakistan due to various threats, mostly man made, yet some species have recovered miraculously due to endless conservation efforts.
The Punjab Urial (Ovis orientalis vignei) is an endemic sub species to Pakistan and is protected under the Federal and all Provincial laws. It is known to have a restricted distribution range and is found only in the Salt and Kala Chitta Mountain ranges in the Punjab and is confined by a coniferous forest belt in the north, the Jhelum River in the east and south and Indus River in the west.
The main threats to the Urial population include habitat degradation (timber, fuel wood) encroachments on protected forests, stealing of lambs, conflicts with the livestock because of competition for grazing. Illegal hunting of Urial has also been a major factor in the past for its decline. The hunting of Urial is, however, now more regulated.
The primary objective of the trophy hunting program is the conservation of large mammals along with their habitats. This is achieved through a system which benefits local communities by providing incentives to conserve their wildlife resources.
WESTERN JHELUM CBO
Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee (CBO) is located in District Jhelum. The CBO was established on 28-06-2011 and was registered with the Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department as a CBO. The CBO is located in West of Jhelum District; its distance from Jhelum city is about 50 to 60 kilometers. The CBO area broadly speaking consists of Villages Pind Sawika, Chakri Karam Khan, Pindi Bhik, Kukkar Pindi to Keri, Bair Faqeeran, Kotal Kund, Gurah, Khair Shareef, Hasnot, Choi Kalan and till the boundary of Tehsil Sohawa up to Village Dheri/Hasnot.
The dominant habitat type in the area is dry sub-tropical, semi evergreen scrub forest. The important plant species are Acacia modesta, Olean ferruginous, Salvadora oleiodies, Zizyphus nimularia, Dodonaea viscose, Propsopis spp, Juticia ahatada, Calotropis procera, Shrubs are sparse, mostly scattered Zizyphus numularia and Maytenus royleanus, except in some ravines and on the high ridges where Dadonaea viscose is prominent. The pre-dominant ground cover consists of grasses, importantly Cymborpogan jawarancusa, Eleusine Compressa, Heteropogon Contrortus, Aristida adscencionis, Cynodon dectylon and Saccharum spp.
The Salt Range supported a varied and abundant spectrum of wildlife in the historic times, Punjab Urial, Chinkara, important carnivores including common Leopard, Chakor, Seesee, Grey and black partridges. Partridges were in plenty due to the nature of the vegetation and topography. The area has, however, been over-hunted in the recent past and this has led to a marked reduction in the numbers and range of most species.
The surveys are conducted every year by the CBO along with the Punjab Wildlife Department. The CBO has harvested 8 trophy sized Urials in total up to February, 2015.
Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee area is approximately 200,000 kanals which is proportionally the property of CBOs members as required by the law.
To ensure the preservation and sustainable use of the wildlife especially the Punjab Urial in the area of Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee District Jhelum.
i. To maintain a healthy population of Urial in the area along with other wildlife species.
ii. To harvest the over-matured Urial under a well-monitored trophy hunting
iii. To reduce the incidence of livestock predation by jackals and other wild animals and prevent the un-necessary killing of predators by the people.
iv. To promote the awareness among the local communities for the preservation and sustainable use of wildlife and their habitats.
v. To exercise sustainable use of wildlife resources for the uplift of rural communities and preservation of resources through trophy hunting and Eco-tourism.
vi. To build confidence among the local residents and realize the concept of ownership regarding the natural resources of their area which is essentially a national heritage.
a. Illegal hunting and poaching.
b. Habitat degradation, including extension of the cultivated areas, over cutting of natural forests for growing needs of fuel wood and fodder.
c. Population fragmentation and isolation due to habitat loss.
d. Over-grazing of pastures and competition with the livestock.
e. Communal conflicts among the local people / communities.
f. Lack of awareness and education regarding wildlife preservation.
a. COMMUNITY BASED MANAGEMENT
Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee District Jhelum manages the CBO with the technical assistance of Punjab Wildlife Department and support of the local community.
b. ROLE OF COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATION (CBO)
1. The CBO coordinates and monitors implementation of the conversation plan.
2. The CBO has appointed Village Wildlife Watchers (VWW) in the preservation area.
3. The CBO through VWW ensures that the Provisions of Punjab Urial Conservation Protection & Trophy Hunting (Committees) Rules, 2010 with regards to the protection of the wildlife are effectively enforced.
4. No person is allowed to carry firearm, ammunition, explosives, nets and snares in the preservation area, except the firearms carried by the VWWs or staff of Wildlife Department Punjab.
5. The CBO is also responsible for: –
a. Supervision of duties of the VWWs.
b. Monitoring the progress of the preservation plan at the community level.
c. Formalizing and administering a CBO Fund (VCF) and ensuring that income from sustainable use of natural resources is used to pay the cost of the preservation along with some development works of the local community in proper proportion.
c. ROLE OF VILLAGE WILDLIFE WATCHER.
The Punjab Wildlife Department and other allied institutions / agencies will be requested o provide training to the nominees of the communities, as Village Wildlife Watchers (VWW). Terms of reference (TORs) for Village Wildlife Watchers are as under: –
The Village Wildlife Watchers (VWW) are paid from the CBO fund. They are responsible for the following services / activities in the preservation area:
1. Monitor wildlife in the Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee District Jhelum Area, record the following information on standard forms during the surveys of the animals.
(a) The date, location, survey condition and total numbers of animals observed
(b) Dead animals and cause of death known.
(c) The estimated age, sex and horn length of the dead animals and types of habitat where they were found.
2. Record the following information regarding predators on standard forms:
(a) The date, location and number of predators signs observed by the VWW.
(b) The date, location, number and type of livestock reportedly killed by predators.
(c) Record any other wildlife information as directed by the CBO
3. Assist the CBO in the monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Urial Preservation Plan for Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee District Jhelum
4. Help the CBO to organize watch & ward activities to:
a. Protect wildlife from illegal hunting and report any such incident to the CBO and the local District Wildlife Officer.
b. Advising on measures necessary to adequately protect wildlife from outside and local poachers.
c. Advise on sustainable use of other natural resources.
5. Help the CBO to organize and guide activities associated with:
(a) Guiding and monitoring of trophy hunting by approved trophy hunters.
(b) Regular wildlife surveys and utilization of forest resources.
(c) Conducting Eco-tourism as a guide.
d. ESTABLISHING A WILDLIFE MONITORING SYSTEM
1. The CBO has established a wildlife monitoring system with the assistance of the Punjab Wildlife Department and other allied agencies.
2. The CBO ensures that any use of wildlife including trophy hunting is highly preservative and sustainable.
3. The VWWs are responsible for monitoring population of key wildlife species and their habitats with the assistance of the Punjab Wildlife Department.
4. At least one detailed survey of key wildlife species is conducted each year.
5. The observation of dead wildlife or any incident is reported to the CBO and local representatives of the Punjab Wildlife Department and are dealt with the provisions of the Punjab Wildlife Act, 1974.
TROPHY HUNTING POLICY
The following points are taken into consideration by the CBO for a successful hunt:
a. Trophy sized males (26 inches and more horn size) are identified in the population by the VWW through a survey of the animals in the month of November. Trophy sized males are those individuals whose horns have reached full development. Such males have a dark brown body color and are almost completing their life cycle.
b. Hunting Season is considered from 15th November 15 March.
c. The hunter is allowed 15 days for trophy hunting within the hunting year. He is accompanied on his hunting trips by a VWW, who is entrusted with the responsibilities of guiding the hunter to the location where the animals are found; help them in spotting Urial and ensuring that the right sized animal is hunted.
d. 80% of the trophy-hunting fee is utilized by the community while the remaining 20% is the share of Wildlife Department.
e. The hunter is required to write two separate cheques, on in the name of Community (80% of the hunting permit fee) and the other in the name of Government (20% of the hunting permit fee).
f. 60% of the income from trophy hunting fee is utilized by the CBO for the preservation, surveys and development of the wildlife and the community area and 40% for the administrative works as prioritized by the CBO.
g. Lodging / boarding provisions to the hunters are arranged by the CBO. The hunter stays in the designated guesthouse by the CBO which is located in the CBO or a close by area where the hunt takes place.
6. GENERAL RULES FOR PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE IN THE CBO AREA
a. The community game reserve has been maintained and managed exclusively for one or more of the following purposes:
1. Propagation of wildlife in the area as game.
2. Sport hunting.
3. Recreation and
4. Preservation of biodiversity
The following are prohibited in the CBO reserve: –
1. Hunting of a game animal without a special big game shooting permit issued by the Punjab Wildlife Department.
2. Hunting of any Protected Animals or any other animals whose hunting is prohibited.
3. Hunting of wild animals other than in accordance with the provision of the Act and the Rules made hereunder, especially with regards to hunting season and time, and kind of gun etc.
4. Trapping of game animals in the community game reserve for any purpose what so ever except with the special permission and under supervision of the Punjab Wildlife Department.
5. Hunt any wild animal by means of a set gun, drop spear, deadfall, fun trap, explosive projectile, Grenades, baited hook, snare or any other trap, any automatic weapon or a weapon of a caliber used by the Pakistan Army or Police.
6. Hunt by means of projectile containing any chemical substance, likely to anesthetized, paralyze, stupefy or render incapable animal whether partly or totally.
7. Use vehicle of any type to pursue any game animal, or to drive or stampede game animal for any purpose whatsoever.
8. Hunt after sunset and before sunrise.
9. Hunt by hiding near a water hole or salt licks.
10. No person can use hawks for hawking or dogs for coursing the game animals.
11. Any protected animal or game animal which is found dead or dying or which has been killed or caught otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Act and any meat or trophy thereof shall be the property of the CBO.
12. No person shall be in possession of any wild animal, dead or alive trophy or meat of a kind unless he is in possession of a certificate of lawful possession granted in respect thereof by the officer authorized in this behalf.
13. No person can:
1. Transfer by gift sale or otherwise to any other person any animal, trophy or meat unless he is in possession of the certificate of lawful possession in respect thereof, and such certificate is endorsed with details of the transaction and given to the transferee at the time of transfer.
2. Receive by gift, purchase or otherwise any animal, trophy or meat unless he receives at the same time a valid certificate of lawful possession in respect of thereof.
3. No person shall as a profession, trade or business, buy sell or otherwise deal in wild animals, trophies or meat thereof or process or manufacture goods or articles from such trophies or meat, unless he is in possession of a valid license, hereinafter called a dealers license, to do so, issued by an officer authorized in this behalf.
PROJECTS OF WESTERN JHELUM URIAL CONSERVATION & TROPHY HUNTING COMMITTEE (CBO) DISTRICT JHELUM
The following projects have been carried out by the Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee District Jhelum: –
a. CONSERVATION PROJECTS:
(d) Repair of Water Dam Sayen Shaukat Wala kass.
(e) Water Dam Gujjar Maira
(f) Water Pond near road from Wagh to Bair Faqeeran
(g) Crops sowing at Gujjar Maira.
(h) Affixing / installation of sign boards for protection.
(i) Provision of binoculars to Village Wildlife Watchers for strict observance/monitoring of wildlife activities.
(j) Provision of special Uniform, Shoes, Weapons and Water Bottles to the Wildlife Watchers.
(k) Check posts
b. COMMUNITY PROJECTS
i. Repair of Katcha Track from Village Wagh to Bair Faqeeran
ii. Making of Katcha Track through Bulldozer from Bair Faqeeran to Dhok Warrah Dakhli Kotal Kund
iii. Fixing of Hand Pump and Bore for provision of Water to the public of Village Kotal Kund.
iv. Fixing of Hand Pump and Bore for provision of Water to the public of Village Khair Shareef.
v. Complete Bore with installation Motor Pump at Check Post of Wildlife Department in Village Khair Shareef.
vi. Provision and Fixing of Hand Pump near Girls Elementary School Hasnot.
vii. Provision and Fixing of Hand Pump in Dheri Rajgan and Pind Sawika.
viii. Provision and Fixing of Hand Pump in Loharan.
ix. Provision and Fixing of Hand Pump in Bhallowala near Hasnot
PROPOSED PROJECTS OF WESTERN JHELUM URIAL CONSERVATION & TROPHY HUNTING COMMITTEE DISTRICT JHELUM
Water Dam Dhok Warrah.
Reinforcement of Water Dam Khair Shareef
Water Dam in Sayen Shaukat Kass in Pind Swikka.
Check Post at Sayen Shaukat Kass. (Material mobilized)
Reinforcement of Water Dam in Bair Faqeeran.
Street at length 100 Ft. Dheri Rajgan. ( Completed)
Street at length 300 Ft. Bair Faqeeran. ( Work Started)
Const. of Katcha Track from Warrah to Kotal Kund. ( Work Started)
Const. of Road Khair Shareef to Nullah Bunhaa Dhok Dhakk.
Const. of Road village Kotal Kund
PADHRI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, JHELUM
Name and Legal Status
Padhri Private Game Reserve is proposed to be established as a Private Game reserve under Punjab Wildlife (Private Game Reserves) Rules 2002
Padhri Private Game reserve (PPGR) is located 45 KM south of the towns of Sohawa and Dina, Jhelum District, Punjab Province in Pakistan that forms the eastern to central part of the salt range. Padhial Valley is located towards the west south of the PPGR and area of Western Jhelum CBO is adjacent in the south of the PPGR. Total area of the Reserve is 2500 acres approximately.
Road access from DINA/SOHAWA from Domelli turning on the main GT Road and from CHOA SAIDEN SHAH via Padhial Road.
Rail access is from Domelli Railway Station.
Air access is from Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot and Peshawar. PIA flights operate on daily basis.
The climate of the area is arid sub-tropical continental, characterized by low, sporadic rainfall, high temperature, low relative humidity and high rates of evaporation. There is no meteorological station at Padhri. Weather data (mean monthly temperature and mean monthly precipitation) were obtained from the Meteorological Department and weather station at Jhelum. Average annual rainfall and mean minimum and maximum temperature are 350mm and 11 and 33C respectively.
The Salt Range is an east-west trending thrust front about 175 KM long and contains the second largest known mineral salt (sodium chloride) deposit in the world. The salt deposits are due to evaporation of the ancient Tithys Sea and formation of the Indus Plains from a collision of the Indian Plate with the Asian Plate resulting from continental drift 40 million years ago (King and Vincent 1993). The Salt Range rises gently from plain before entering a rugged maze of small plateaus and titled beds of rock, finally culminating in a series of rounded ridges at an altitude of about 1000 m.
Sandstone and limestone are the main rocks. The color of sand stone is laminated-white, cream, dark-red, purple or brown. Limestone occurs in pure, laminated and compact forms generally in the higher reaches. On the southern side, strata of gypseous red-marl are greatly exposed. The weathering of pure lime stone leaves no perceptible soil as calcium carbonate is carried away by rain water. The weathered lime rock is left with sharp projections, numerous hollows and exceedingly irregular surface. Thus generally sheet rock and boulders are found on hillside. In places where rock is not so pure, it is mixed with shale, clay or sand and in such areas weathering produces some insoluble matters which develop into small amounts of soil.
The soil in the lime stone portions although thin and shallow in fertile due to nutritive properties of calcium carbonate. Weathering of sandstone produce very poor and infertile soils able to support very poor and scanty vegetation. There are areas of sheet rock from which surface soil has entirely disappeared. Infertile red-marl is exposed at numerous places due to extensive erosion and steep geological tilt resulting in slips.
There are abundant water sources in this game reserve. The predominant source is Nala Bunnah which flows throughout the year carrying mostly stream and hill torrents water. During the rainy season water runs through the gullies and streams that can be stored in mini dams for use in the dry season.
The dominant habitat type in the area is dry sub-topical, semi-evergreen scrub forest. Vegetation the important plant species are: phulai Accaciamodesta, kau Oleaferrugenia, beri Zizphusmauritiana, mullah Zizi phusnummularia, jaal Salvadoraoleoides, sanatha Dodonaea viscose, bhekar Justiciaadhatoda, gurgura Monothecabuxifolia, aak Calotropisprocera and Pataki Gymnosporiaroyleana. Kau does not occur as a pure stand and is mixed with phulai, sanatha and other auxiliary species. Phulai is the predominant species on relatively hotter aspects and in sand stone areas where it seems to be the only tree species that can withstand excessively arid conditions met with. It is often found in combination with sanatha and Pataki, thus giving a far better protection to soil than the pure stands.
Sanatha is found practically everywhere in varying proportions. At places it occurs in fairly large patches. It germinates from seed. Its seedlings often are able to establish even in places with heavy grazing pressure. Thus acts as a good proactive cover to minimized the soil erosion.
Grasses are abundant in the area. Grasses with high palatability like phari ondigitariabicornis, palwan botheriochloapertusa, khar Chrgysopogonmontanus, Tetra poganvillusus, Eleusine flagellifera, Cenchru spendisetiformis, Suriala Heteropogon contours and bhabbar Elionurushirsultus are common. In areas subjected to heaving grazing, grasses with low fodder value like lumb Aristidadepressa, khawi Cymbopoguanjwarancusa and deela Cyprus pilosus have dominated the grass communities.
The vegetation cover in the Reserve is better than the surrounding areas, though trees are scarce due to low rainfall. Erosion has reached a very advanced stage in some parts and bare infertile rock has been exposed which cannot support any kind of vegetation. Vegetation is also poor on sandstone and red-marl. Southern and South-Eastern slopes support far less vegetation as compared to north-western slopes. This is mainly due to the geological formation and tilt that have exposed the infertile red-marl strata on south-eastern slopes. In stream beds, tall grasses like Sacch arumbengalensisspontaneum are also present.
Over grazing is not evident in the area, but abundance of grasses of low palatability like khawi, Suriala and bhabbar indicates that the habitat will be able to support far less ungulates than it could be expected from the potential gross productively of the ecosystem.
Historically, the Salt Range supported a varied and abundant spectrum of wildlife. Punjab Urial Ovisvignei punjabiensis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Chukor Alectori schukur), see-see ammoper dixgriseogularis, black and grey partridges Francolinus francolinu sand F. pondi cerianus) were in plenty due to the nature of the vegetation and topography. Important carnivories incuded India wolf Canis lupus pallipes, leopard Panther apardus, jungle cat Felischaus, Asiatic jackal Canis aureus, red fox Vulpes, yellow-throated marten Martesflavigula and wild hare Lepus nigricollis. However, habitat destruction and uncontrolled hunting in the recent past has led to a marked reduction in the numbers and range of most species.
Wild hare occurs in good numbers. Wild boar Susscrofa are also present. There is a fair population of partridge species in the PPGR.
Other bird species in the area include: black-winged kite elanus caeruleus, India tree pie Dendro cittavagabunda, jungle babbler Turdoid esstriatus, purple sun bird Nectari niaasiatica, pired bush chat Phoini curusphoenicures, blue rock pigeon Columba livia, white checked bulbul Pycnono tusleucogenys and crested lark Galei dacrestata.
All the three partridge species viz, black grey and see see partridge are considered Least Concern in the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2000).
All other species mentioned in the previous paragraphs are also of Least Concern as per the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2000).
Only two carnivorous species viz, Indian jackal and fox have been reported from the area. They may rarely attack the lambs/fawns. There have, however, been no serious reports of predation.
Influences on the wild animals/ Threats to population
There are reports of illegal hunting and poaching in the reserve. The Reserve is not fenced hence the entry to the reserve area in difficult to control. However Guard posts have been established around the core partridge habitat that has helped check the unauthorized hunting of Partridges.
Fair weather roads have been carved providing easy access to Reserve. It also makes easy access to nooks and corners of the Reserve accessible for watch and ward purposes. The access however becomes difficult during the rainy season.
PPGR headquarter is at Shikar Gah Rest House at Dhok Thottian, Village Padhri from where administrative functions are carried out besides providing residential facilities for the visitors. Most of the watch and ward staff has been hired from the local communities hence all are locally residing around the PPGR.
Management of the Reserve
General Objectives of Management
General management objectives for Padhri Private Game Reserve are listed below in descending order of priority:
Manage the area for sustainable-use hunting program in confirmation with the guidance of the Punjab Wildlife & Parks Department as laid out in the Punjab Wildlife (Private Game Reserves) Rules 2002.
Provide legal hunting opportunities to sportsmen.
Provide recreation opportunities to the general public through wildlife viewing.
Benefit the local communities by providing employment.
Specific Management Objectives
The specific management objectives, leading to fulfillment of general objectives have been grouped into seven categories of management activities that will be followed in pursuit of the objectives. These activities include:
Habitat Management (HAM)
Human Population Management (HPM)
Maintenance Management (MAM)
Assumption Administration (ADM)
Hunting Management (HM)
Research and Monitoring (RAM)
Overlap and interconnection occurs between the categories.
Loss and degradation of existing vegetation and biotic communities are halted; and the latter is being restored. (HPM)
Sustainable hunting of partridge population in the reserve is ensured. (APM, HM)
Population of partridge is regularly monitored and hunting quotas recommended.
Hunting is organized and trained guides are provided to accompany the hunters. (APM, HM)
The number of staff in service is being maintained at levels sufficient to implement all prescribed management and development programs. (ADM)
All staff members are appropriately trained and equipped to carry out the responsibilities of their posts, and aware of what is required of them. (ADM)
Provisions of the Forest Act and Wildlife Act relevant to the Reserve will be enforced by the watch and ward staff. (ADM)
All offenders of Wildlife law who are apprehended are dealt with, in accordance with due process of law. (ADM, HPM)
Reserve boundaries are clearly demarcated with a track negotiable by cross-country vehicle. (HPM, HAM)
Boundary patrols are organized and conducted so that every section is patrolled daily (ADM)
Reasonable rest house facilities are developed and maintained so that they are offering year-round accommodation for visitors that is attractive, hygienic and good value for money. (TRM, MAM)
Nature trails are developed and maintained for the enjoyment and education of visitors. (TRM, MAM)