The Department of Forestry, Range and Wildlife Management, Karakoram International University organized a one day field visit for BS Semester-I students to Forest Complex, Jutial Gilgit. While explaining the purpose of field visits, Dr. Ahmad Hussain expressed that the outdoor learning activities are a crucial component of forestry education, as they bridge the gap between theory and practice, enhance students’ understanding of forest concepts, and prepare them for successful careers in forestry and conservation. These experiences provide a well-rounded education and instill a sense of responsibility for the sustainable management of our natural resources.
Mr. Khadim Abbbas, Conservator of Forests, GB Wildlife Department welcomed the students and faculty. He elaborated upon forest resources of Gilgit-Baltistan and explained why meagre forests exist (only 4-5%) in this region. He explained their management since pre-colonial period and to meet present time requirement, currently the Gilgit-Baltistan Forest Act 2019 is in implementation. He gave detailed account of Wildlife species and its habitat in different regions of Gilgit-Baltistan. He explained the concept of trophy hunting and how the community in this region is benefitted with this venture. Addressing the students’ questions in forestry and wildlife aspects, he informed that Gilgit-Baltistan’s Wildlife Department auctioned permits for Markhor hunting recently. Astore markhor permits leading at $186,000, followed by blue sheep at $35,600 and Ibex at $11,000. Both local and foreign hunters participated in the trophy hunting auction process.
It was a very elaborate, informative and interactive session where by the Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) shared his experiences. The students learnt very much and actively participated in this activity. The students were then taken to the Museum which was established by the Gilgit-Baltistan Forest, Wildlife & Environment Department (GBFWE). Khadim Abbbas sahib showed various stuffed wildlife species on display and identified those for information of the students. Wildlife specimen included snow leopard, brown bear, lynx, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan sand fox, Astore markhor, and Siberian ibex etc. He also explained the importance of biodiversity in the region.
The students were then taken outside in courtyard / compound of the Forest Complex where activity of plant identification was performed under the supervision of the Conservator of Forests. The students learnt a lot by this exercise. At the end, two students presented vote of thanks to the Conservator of Forests and his staff for sharing knowledge and experience with them.