More than 50 Snow Leopard Trust supporters came together earlier this month to fund a wildlife awareness event for school kids in Pakistan on World Wildlife Day. It brought 125 kids to Islamabad’s Natural History Museum for an unforgettable experience!
“I’m very excited to be here with other kids and big educators of wildlife and my experiences have been nothing but amazing so far”, said 10-year old Ahmed, before watching some of his peers don colorful costumes to perform a play about protecting wildlife from poaching.
Later, the kids were mesmerized by a documentary film about the endangered species of Pakistan. After the screening, they grilled wildlife conservation experts such as our Pakistan program director, Dr. Ali Nawaz, with questions.
‘Why are these animals in danger?”
“What can I do to help protect snow leopards and elephants?”
“What other rare animals do we have in Pakistan?”
The motto of the day was ‘The Future of Wildlife Is In Our Hands‘, and so the kids learned about small ways in which they can make an impact – reducing their own personal footprint on the environment, for instance by not throwing things away that can still be used.
Along with a group of wildlife biology students other invited guests, including Pakistan’s senior wildlife conservation officials, the kids then wrote their personal pledges on a Commitment Wall, which will be in display at the museum.
The Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, his Excellency Dr. Song Hong-Hwan, was among the notable guests attending the event at Islamabad’s Natural History museum. He was joined by the Inspector General Forests at Ministry of Climate Change, Mr/ Syed Mehmood Nasir; Mr. Christopher McKinney from the US Embassy, the museum’s Director General, Dr. M.K. Leghari and other dignitaries.
Together, the children, students and guests of honor discussed with experts, including Snow Leopard Trust Pakistan program director Dr. Muhammad Ali Nawaz, how to best keep Pakistan’s wildlife save. One topic they touched upon was trophy hunting, which is practiced in parts of the country as a source of revenue for both conservation and local economies. At least one of the kids, fourth-grader Alisha, openly questioned the practice:
“How can one kill these beautiful animals for joy?”, she asked. “This should not happen. If you love something you should have love and care for that.” While the issue is undoubtedly too complex for simple answers, her a feeling will certainly be shared by many wildlife enthusiast around the world. “If I have command, I won’t let it happen”, Alishba said. “I wish”.
If Alishba does one day become a visionary leader for wildlife, it will be thanks at least in part to the generous support of Snow Leopard Trust supporters, who made it possible for her and more than 100 other kids to attend this unforgettable event.