Threats to Nara sanctuary

Bhagwandas in DAWN:

KARACHI, Feb 10: Tree felling on a large scale is under way for clearing grounds in the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary (NDWS), it is learnt. This, if not stopped immediately, could lead to an environmental disaster ultimately ruining the already fragile desert ecosystem and severely affecting the fauna and flora in the process.

According to sources, influential loggers are selling the wood, which is then converted into coal, whereas the land thus cleared is brought under cultivation. The practice, banned under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Act, is posing a serious threat to the entire ecosystem, they added.

They pointed out that thousands of acres of the sanctuary land, spread over one million acres, has been cleared of trees and converted into agricultural fields. They estimated that the coal produced from the timber through this practice amounts to a few thousand tonnes.

According to the sources, the ecologically rich Nara Desert was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1980 under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance, and is home to over 110 bird species, 15 mammal species, 11 reptile species and over 150 floral species.

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