Negative Social Media Campaign Against Community Based Organizations for the Conservation and trophy hunting of Punjab Urial

Western Jhelum CBO

In 2005 the Government of Punjab followed the same system implemented by Northern Areas for the conservation of endangered species of wild sheep and goat that were excessively hunted and were on the verge of extinction. Pilot project was launched with scanty TORs in the Salt Range or Potohar region of Punjab Province for the protection of Punjab Urial wild sheep species of the region.
After 5 years of implementation of the system there was significant success achieved in bringing back the number of Punjab Urial.
Finally in 2010 after initial success of the program the Government of Punjab formulated the rules and regulations of the Act known as “Punjab Urial Conservation and Trophy hunting (Committee) Rules 2010.”
Under this act Community Based Organizations were formed all over Punjab, specifically in the Salt Range of Punjab.

MISSION STATEMENT

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.

OBJECTIVES

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.
There is an annual audit carried out under the Wildlife act by the Punjab Wildlife Department.

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 30th October till 31st March.
c. The hunter is allowed 7 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.

Negative Media Campaign

After the success of the CBO project under the name of Western Jehlum CBO, people who used to easily poach Urial and other game birds were banned entry into the conservation area hence their access to free meat was stopped. Its these poachers and people who are affiliated with them who are involved in the social media mudslinging at the Western Jhelum CBO.
The fact remains that in 2007 when the first Trophy hunters came to harvest their animals, some of them had to go back empty handed because they couldn’t find the animals or they were unable to find a Trophy animal.
As of today, hunters are able to collect their animal in a day.