MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Some residents in northwestern Faryab province have expressed concerns about the danger of wildlife extinction in the province and demanded the caretaker government to pay serious attention to this problem.
Local officials acknowledged the concerns of Faryab residents and said the past 20 years of conflict and continued drought were the main reasons that wild animals and rare birds left this region and added strict measure had been put in place to stop hunting.
This comes at a time that recently a group of tourist from Qatar arrived in Faryab province and inked a three year hunting contract with the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs.
Inking of this contract and hunting of rare wild animal was criticised by social media activists.
Mohammad Aziz, a tribal elder from the Dawlatabad district, said in Jangal, Madan-a-Namak and Dasht Laili a number of wild animals such as Deer, wolf, leopard and black bear existed most which hunted or fled to Turkmenistan and currently none of them existed.
He described the factors of the extinction of wild animals as the settlement of non-native families in forests and green areas.
He said: “In the past, no one was allowed to settle around the forests and in the swamps, but in recent years, a number of non-native families and farmers moved in the mentioned areas, which on the one hand have damaged the forest and destroyed the bushes, and on the other hand, they hunted the animals or forced them to escape.”
He asked the government to vacate settlers of forests and green areas so that wild animals could come back.
Moalem Abdul Qadir, an influencial inhabitant of Kohistan district said In Faryab, wild animals such as leopards, wolves, foxes, and deer were seen like a herd of sheep, but during the past wars, they were brutally hunted by people with weapons, and currently the generation of these animals remains ten percent.
There were many types of birds in this district, which were often hunted in the last few years, and the rest left the region due to the noise of the weapons of the parties involved in the war.
He considered taking care of forests and wildlife as one of the main duties of the government, adding that currently there is government in all regions and security is ensured. It is necessary to prevent the cutting of forests and the hunting of animals, which are national asset, so that their generation increases again.
Mawlavi Noorulhuda, deputy head of the Agriculture Department, said few years ago, when someone went to the plains and deserts of Qaisar district, they encountered herds of wild animals, especially deer, but these animals are now rarely seen due to the past wars.
He added after political change wild animals hunting had been prevented and currently nobody is allowed to do so.
Mawlavi Shamsuddin Mohammadi, head of the Information and Cultural Affairs Department, said that currently some Shaikhs from Qatar inked hunting contracts for some wild animals and they held a meeting with the governor as well. The hunting will take place in the Dawlatabad, Qarmaqul and Balcharagh districts.
He said in the agreement areas of hunting and the animals had been mentioned and outside the contract nothing is allowed.
He said wildlife hunting is prohibited in all areas of this province, unless the leadership of the caretaker government decides to allow it in some cases.
Hafiz Mohammad Ismael Ayubi, head of the Environmental Protection Department, said in this province, there were animals such as deer, antelope, grok, leopard, jackal, fox and other animals, but the wars of the past 20 years and droughts have seriously damaged the wildlife.
In the past two years, in coordination with other local bodies and councils and spreading message in the decree of the Prime Minister regarding the prohibition of hunting animals, they have banned the hunting of animals and birds, and some have been arrested in connection with the sale of birds.