KARACHI: WWF-Pakistan has exposed 62 works of professional wildlife photographers here at Alliance Française (French Cultural Center) showcasing the rich biodiversity of the country.
Speaking on the occasion Hamera Aisha, Manager Wildlife, WWF-Pakistan held: “This exhibition is – as you have seen – its basically a great opportunity to raise importance on saving the wildlife species specifically, in Pakistan’s context. so we just thought to take the idea of bringing in some incredible and charismatic species from all around the world to provide this option to people to just look at them and learn more about them. The kind of threats they face.
“And this was also an opportunity for us to meet with people in Karachi and to make them a part of the efforts which WWF Pakistan is implementing for a long time.
“Because per say all those species are separated by borders and many species are maybe large ranging species which means maybe one species is found in many different countries but then they share many problems together and in many cases some of the problems are the ones which are created by people.
“So one way where this initiative is one where we are raising awareness is also you know basically helping us to take a pledge from people to make sure that they contribute and they play their role for bio-diversity and wildlife conservations are specific in Pakistan.
“You see fundraising is just the slightest part of it because the amount is very small. But this is again to contribute and the gestures of showing your contribution and your dedication to wildlife conservation.
“So all the small proceedings which might be coming from this initiative will be supporting the online conservation offers of our wildlife programs especially the snow leopards in Pakistan. But the broader objective of this initiative for sure is to raise awareness and to engage people with our efforts.
“So people are aware of WWF Pakistan, in fact, I think. I would agree with the point that people are not generally aware of the importance of environmental protection and biodiversity.
“So WWF-Pakistan has been here for a long time working in Pakistan since the year 1970 and we carry a big portfolio, our conservation objectives, and priorities follow all the international goals that WWF as an organization covers all over Pakistan.
“So we have work projects focusing on conservation of wildlife per say snow leopards are one of the species which we are known for, Indus river dolphin is another species we are known for.
“And then you know many other more species WWF is working very actively on the protection of forests and not only for the rehabilitation but also, you know, for the monitoring of the forests to make sure that we work as an organization that supports the government to make informed conservation decision making.
“But at the same time, we have many other programs that, you know, focus on conservation issues. For instance, climate change, promotion of alternative energy. We are trying to make sure through our efforts that the use of natural resources, for instance, fisheries, the marine resources, the sustainable and this again is a part, a small part of what we do.
“There are many more issues that we are doing. But collectively we are present all over Pakistan, we have a head office, six regional offices and many more site and project offices which makes WWF more of a national organization. And from a child to a grown-up adult you get to know WWF has many faces.
“So, for instance, there’s a spellathon program that has been running for a long time and the idea is to just teach our youth small stories about the environment and you know the importance of wildlife conservation and you still meet people who are the generations who have learned from spellathon’s to people who are just supporting us, becoming members, for instance, becoming parts of what we do.
“Sometimes they would just ring us up, tell us you know there is some illegal activity going on. For example especially for the illegal wildlife trade bit where people are very helpful to report the crimes that are happening in the streets for the illegal trade of animals and that has really helped to create a good impact”.
The collection of stunning photographs on display were taken by dedicated nature photographers over a span of many years, who spent countless hours and traveled long distances to capture the bewildering array of wildlife and mesmerizing scenery of the country. The photographs spoke about the wealth of biodiversity and nature in its true magnificence. The exhibition was attended by a large number of citizens including photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.
It is believed that photographing wildlife brings people closer to nature where they can see it in varied forms and hues. The work of photographers featured in the exhibition provided a dynamic connection between people and nature. Some photographers captured spectacular and never-before-seen images of wildlife and natural landscapes in Pakistan.
The photographs showcased mainly snow leopards but also included other animals – such as flamingos, the white-throated, kingfisher and brown bears. Several photographs also highlighted the landscape of areas such as Shadur, the Margalla Hills, and Astola Island.
Present on the occasion, Hamera Aisha, Manager Wildlife, WWF-Pakistan said that she was delighted to share that wildlife photography is increasing in popularity these days. With smartphones and digital cameras, people enjoy capturing wildlife and beautiful landscapes.
She also highlighted the importance of photography as a medium in changing the general public’s perception towards nature conservation and in making them more aware, encouraging them to take action for the protection of the environment.
She elaborated that these photographs are not just mere ornaments but show the commitment of WWF-Pakistan in working closely with communities to conserve and preserve Pakistan’s unique ecosystems. ‘These beautifully captured moments will help you see the bounties of nature with new eyes.’
She added that we must not forget the difficult conditions in which dedicated wildlife photographers operate such as spending hours in freezing cold conditions or camouflaged behind bushes to capture just the right moment, paying tribute to Zahoor Salmi, a wildlife photographer who recently lost his life while on a photography assignment.
Muhammad Qasim, Regional Head Corporate Partnerships, and Fundraising, WWF-Pakistan shared that this country is rich in unique landscapes and is home to some of the rare wildlife and plants in the world. Events such as the photo exhibition provide inspiration to the people of Pakistan to help protect wildlife and critical ecosystems.
‘These photographs show us how exciting and amazing the natural world is, hence it is our shared responsibility to take care of it. We need to rethink our relations with nature that proves to be vital to inspire individuals to double their efforts in protecting the environment’, he added.
Anoushay Ashraf, Goodwill Ambassador for WWF-Pakistan, also attended the event. She was of the view that funds generated through this campaign will be used for the conservation of conservation of wildlife and addressing issues such as habitat degradation and human-wildlife conflict.
The fundraising exhibition provided an extraordinary opportunity for nature lovers to see and purchase photographs that were rarely displayed in public before. All proceeds from the exhibition will be used for conservation initiatives in Pakistan.
PS: WWF-Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environment and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the biodiversity but were also affecting the human population. WWF-Pakistan is a non-profit organization, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF-Pakistan works through 32 offices with a team of almost 300 dedicated staff members. With its head office in Lahore, and five regional offices in major cities of Pakistan, it has project offices wherever there is a need and potential to make a difference.
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