Lahore, (PR) : A suite of directives spearheaded by Senior Provincial Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, to safeguard and conserve wildlife, have borne fruit. These orders have been issued in accordance with the guidelines of Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Senior Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that the establishment of a wildlife rescue force has been ordered under the vision of the CM Punjab. In the first phase, the rescue force will consist of trained staff, veterinary ambulances, doctors, and rescue vehicles in Khanewal, Lahore, and Rawalpindi.

She explained that legislation will be enacted regarding the capture of lions, leopards, and wild cats under the Wildlife Act. Before the ten-day timeline for the combing operation against illegal possession of animals, continuous operations resulted in the recovery of 11 rare black bears from Sargodha, Nankana Sahib, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala and DG Khan, she added.

The senior minister disclosed that the search operations led to the rescue of 96 green parrots, 20 monkeys, 85 sparrows, 6 pheasants, 35 partridges, 45 rosy starlings (Pastor roseus), and 25 peacocks from unlawful captivity. Additionally, a Bengal tiger was intercepted while being transported from Lahore to Multan. Those found keeping animals illegally are subject to arrest under the amended Wildlife Act of 1973, with fines amounting to Rs.712,500 imposed on various offenders. She assured that the rescued animals will be temporarily housed in aviaries before being released back into their natural habitats, many of which are endangered.

Furthermore, educational lectures and seminars have been conducted in academic institutions to raise public awareness regarding wildlife protection and conservation efforts, she said.

Marriyum Aurangzeb emphasized that no leniency will be shown towards those unlawfully detaining animals or perpetrating acts of cruelty against them. The true sanctuary for wildlife lies within forests and other natural environments. Keeping wild animals and birds in unlawful captivity constitutes a criminal offense, she asserted, urging the public to report any such instances to aid in wildlife preservation efforts.

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