Friday, 27 November 2009

Militancy Is Good For Kashmiri Wildlife Population

Kashmir’s ownership has been disputed by India and Pakistan since the bloody partition in 1947. I have always looked at the Kashmir issue as a way to solve not human problems but those of wild animals. The Indian media have just informed us that people like myself were right after all.

Wildlife warden Rashid Naqash, up in Dachigam Sanctuary said on Tuesday that over the two-decade-old separatist rebellion, the wildlife population of Indian-held Kashmir has registered a manifold increase by scaring away poachers and hunters from the region. He did not say how many foreign fighters the area attracted.

Rare birds like the black partridge and pheasant have increased in thousands, while more Asiatic black bear, leopards, musk deer and hangul (a rare red deer) freely roam the forests of Himalayas. At last, the fighters have wild company. Surely, it is a jungle out there.

The hunters are afraid of getting caught up in the crossfire between militants and the security forces, and no one has dared venturing deep into the forests in the past twenty years. The local hunters too are without weapons because in 1990, they were ordered to deposit their weapons at the nearest police station in order to squash the revolt. The change is remarkable because wildlife roams freely and has truly multiplied.

Authorities estimate the number of threatened black bear, which also inhabit hilly and mountainous forests across Asia from Afghanistan to Taiwan, has jumped in Kashmir from 700-800 since 1990 to 2,500-3,000. Officials say the increase in wildlife population is good news for Kashmir’s ailing tourism industry.

I have no doubt that the freedom fighters (or separatist terrorists) will not be pleased by this Indusian claim; the former want their own kind multiplying away. Does somebody care about a dancing peacock up in the mountains?

Animals could not be happier as humans, while pursuing peace, blow each other up to pieces.

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