TCP gets Markhor Conservation Award
By: Fahad Bin Ameer
ISLAMABAD, October 29, 2010: Torghar Conservation Programme (TCP) has been awarded the Prestigious Markhor Conservation Award of 2010 of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) on October 20 in Nagoya, Japan.
The award ceremony took place during the 10th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Markhor Award was initiated to honor outstanding conservation performances that link biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods through sustainable use of natural resources.
Torghar is considered one of the most important wildlife areas of Qillasaifullah district of Balochistan, Pakistan. The name “Markhor” was also derived from Pakistan’s threatened mountain goat species.
Torghar Conservation Program was launched with the involvement of the local communities in order to achieve the conservation goals through sustainable use model. TCP is now managed by a registered organization called Society for Torghar Environmental Protection (STEP).
There were estimated 200 Urial and less than 100 Markhor in the area when the program started in 1985. According to the most recent survey, estimated Markhor population is about 2540 animals and that of the Urial to be about 3145 animals. Torghar is now home to the largest population of these animals in the world. The conservation and sustainable use has not only resulted in recovery of populations of Markhor and Urial, but also of the other species of fauna and flora.
Prior to this award Torghar program has also won considerable international acclaim and honors from environmental organizations and many foreign governments. That included knighthood in the Order of the Golden Ark by the late prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Certificate of Merit from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and the L,Ordere National du Merite award from the president of France. The Torghar Conservation Programme is funded by UNDP, GEF and Government of Balochistan.