JAMMU, Oct 2: Minister for Forest, Ecology & Environment Ch. Lal Singh inaugurated the Wildlife Week to be celebrated from 2nd to 8th October at Jambu Zoo site.
Member Parliament Jugal Kishore, Shamsher Singh Manhas and Minister of State for Forest Zahoor Ahmed Mir were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Ch. Lal Singh said that J&K is the only State which has 15.58 percent of the total geographical area under protected area network and stressed the need for putting in concerted efforts to preserve and protect the wildlife.
The Minister said that man-animal conflict is an outcome of undue interference of humans in the natural habitat of animals thus posing great threat to the existence of both entities.
To minimize such conflicts, the Forest Department has taken initiative to go for plantation of fruits plants so that animals shall find their food within their natural habitat, the Minister said, adding that animals are important component of ecology and any such threat to them will have negative consequences on human existence.
Ch. Lal Singh said that the department has undertaken mass plantation drives across the State which is one of the steps towards increasing forest wealth of the State. He said role of each citizen bear huge importance for saving ecology and appealed people to plant trees on every important occasion.
He said that Jambu Zoo is being developed with best of infrastructure as a major attraction for animal lovers and tourists.. “The wildlife week is celebrated with an aim to create awareness among people for preserving our wildlife and involving people in this initiative”, Lal Singh informed.
Minister of State, Zahoor Ahmed Mir while addressing the participants said that there is a need to create awareness about wildlife among people & children as wildlife is important part of ecosystem and any threat to wildlife will have negative impact over the ecosystem. Hence it is a duty of all stake holders to protect the wildlife he added.
Member Parliament Shamsher Singh Manhas said that school children are important stake holders & imparting knowledge about wildlife to them will have wider ramifications in spreading the awareness.
Member Parliament Jugal Kishore asked the Wildlife Department to take initiative to create nature trails along sanctuary area so that it generates eagerness among the people to visit & see wild animals in their natural environment.
Regional Wildlife Warden Dr. V S Senthil Kumar informed the gathering that a weeklong programme will be organized in Kathua, Rajouri, Kishtwar & Jammu with an aim of creating awareness through debate, painting competition and other events
PCCF, Ravi Kesar elaborated the genesis of Wildlife Week celebration & highlighted the role of Wildlife Dept. in protecting wildlife & wetlands in the State.