Punjab govt decides to establish wildlife rescue force for animal protection


SARGODHA: The Punjab government has introduced the establishment of a Wildlife Rescue Force dedicated to safeguarding wild animals. Comprised of trained personnel, veterinary ambulances, doctors, and rescue vehicles, this initiative aims to protect the diverse wildlife of the region.

Initially, Wildlife Rescue Forces will be set up in Lahore, Khanewal, and Rawalpindi. Provincial Senior Minister Maryam Aurangzeb has also instructed revisions to the Wildlife Act, especially concerning the possession of tigers, leopards, and other wild cats.

Recent crackdowns on illegal possession of wild animals across Sargodha, Nankana Sahib, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, Gujranwala, and DG Khan have led to the rescue of various rare species. These include 11 rare bears, 96 ratites, 20 monkeys, 85 sparrows, 6 chickadees, 35 pheasants, 45 partridges, and 25 peacocks.

Aurangzeb highlighted the rescue of Bengal tigers being transported from Lahore to Multan. Under the amended Wildlife Act of 1973, offenders caught illegally possessing animals face detention and heavy fines. Moreover, educational initiatives such as lectures and seminars in schools and colleges across Punjab aim to raise awareness about wildlife conservation among the public and the younger generation.

Aurangzeb stressed that rescued animals will be temporarily housed in various zoos before being released back into their natural habitats. Illegal confinement or mistreatment of animals is strictly prohibited, as the real habitat of wildlife is forests and other natural areas. Illegal captivity of wild animals and birds is considered a legal offence. INP

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