The restive western border of the country, lining the troubled Afghanistan, plummeted into ceaseless political uncertainty and unstable security situation at the onset of the War on Terror and the region is still recuperating from the damages done in the decade-long turmoil.
While the populace of the region bore the brunt of the unstable security conditions, the turmoil was a breath of fresh air for the wildlife population of the region which thrived under the inaccessible conditions of the region.
Strengthening hope with the latest return of the Sarus Cranes in the Nagarparkar District in Sindh, the officials of the Wildlife Department have now revealed the spotting of the once-extinct Asiatic Black Bear in Chitral Gol National Park, adjacent to the Afghan border.
The discovery has jolted the Bear conservationists in the country who have long considered the presence of Black Bear along the Western border as improbable.
“This species of bear has been declared endangered on this side of the Hindukush belt since long,” said range officer Irshad Ahmed while confirming presence of black bear in the area here on Wednesday.
The sub-divisional forest officer of Chitral Gol National Park, Mohammad Buzurg, said that the species had never been spotted in the national park
since its establishment in 1984.
Azhar Ali, a biodiversity specialist said that the Black Bear population in the south of the region has been stable but was considered extinct in the Western parts of the National Park.
Bear hunting has been cited as the major cause of the extinction as the animal has been poached and hunted for the precious Bile used in the making
of traditional medicines.
“The forests of the southern Chitral border the dense forests of Afghanistan and transmigration of animals takes place in pursuit of congenial and suitable environment,” he said, giving another reason for the extinction of the species.
Black Bear is found in the Kashmir and adjacent areas and has been relatively unknown in the Chitral region until now.
The Chitral Gol National Park is known as the home of some of the endangered species in the world including the Markhor, Urial, Black Buck and the legendary Snow Leopard.