Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Fenced in: The Kashmir barrier that is endangering wildlife
By Sajjad Qayyum
Neelum Valley, Pakistan (AFP) Feb 23, 2016

A double row of fence and tangled concertina wire curves like a Frankenstein stitch across the Kashmir frontier, blocking anything that might try to cross one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints -- including, environmentalists say, migrating wildlife.

Built in 2007 by India, the impenetrable barrier scarring hundreds of kilometres of snowy forests has obstructed militants from neighbouring Pakistan for years, but it has also halted the movement of some spectacular and rare species formerly abundant in the area, wildlife officials have told AFP.

Creatures such as black bears and leopards, fenced in on the Pakistani side, are being driven by hunger into nearby settlements, often with fatal consequences.

In the lush hilltop hamlet of Arang Kel, more than 8,000 feet (2,500 metres) above sea level, residents say they have no choice but to kill the wild animals stalking their land.

"Our cattle, sheep, goats and cows are not safe from them and sometimes they attack people," villager Roshan Khan, who is in his 60s, tells AFP. "That's why they are being killed."

"They have to travel towards human settlements in search of food, where they are killed by people when they attack their livestock," says Yousuf Qureshi, the former director of the wildlife department in Pakistani Kashmir.

Since 2007 around 35 common leopards, five bears, and several brown bears have met their fate this way, says Pakistani Kashmir assistant wildlife and fisheries department director Naeem Dar.

The detour, exacerbated by deforestation and coupled with a lack of resources available to wildlife officials, has contributed to the eradication of many such species on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC), officials say.

- 'Tragedy' -

The electric fence stands up to twelve feet tall in places, and is attached to an elaborate network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems and alarms. The area immediately around it is peppered with land mines -- all in a bid to protect the frontier from infiltration by militants.

Kashmir's thick forests and soaring slopes are divided between bitter nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India along the de facto border agreed on in a 2003 ceasefire, but claimed by both in full. Two of their three wars since independence have been fought over the region.

The Srinagar-based commander of the Indian army's XV Corps, Lt Gen S K Dua, tells AFP the flow of militants crossing over from Pakistan-administered Kashmir is "down to a trickle" now, crediting the formidable fence and other counter-insurgency initiatives.

But, while blocking militants -- and wildlife -- from Pakistan, the barrier has also prevented animals moving from the Indian side.

Creatures such as the markhor, a type of wild goat with majestic horns, simply no longer appear on the Pakistani side -- blocked by hundreds of kilometres of barbed wire and explosives, says Qureshi.

"(The markhor) would travel from Pir Panjal (in the Himalayan mountains in Indian-held Kashmir) to Neelum Valley, but the fence created a barrier and their migration has ended," he says. "This is a tragedy."

The same goes for the hangul, or Kashmir deer, once common in the area but now "totally extinct" on Pakistan's side of the border, he says.

- Tear down this fence -

The fence itself is not the only issue, Qureshi warns. The barrier has not stopped regular instances of firing by soldiers on both sides across the LoC which, he says, which has also driven wildlife away.

"Once they abandoned their habitats they did not go back," he says.

Deforestation also plays a significant role. Neelum Valley winters are harsh, with wood the only fuel for villagers bereft of electricity or other sources of power.

When India and Pakistan were created in 1947 forest covered some 24 percent of Pakistani Kashmir, but that has now dropped to 11 percent.

"The natural living places of these animals are being destroyed," says Munawaar Hussain, a wildlife employee posted in Arang Kel.

For Muhammad Arshad, district programme manager for the Himalaya Welfare Organization, the problem is clear: the area needs peace.

"Fencing on the LoC has disturbed their natural habitat and limited the territory," he says.

"India and Pakistan should have peace in the region and dismantle the fencing on the LoC for the conservation of these species," adds Qureshi.

For now, villagers in Arang Kel say they have no choice but to keep killing the animals -- despite the threat of fines and imprisonment for illegal hunting.

"We are worried the wildlife department will lodge a case against us when we kill these animals," says villager Khan.

"There must be some solution."

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
US general bullish on Afghanistan as he confirms retirement
Kabul (AFP) Feb 13, 2016
The top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan was bullish on the country's future despite concerns over peace talks, as he confirmed his looming retirement at a press conference in Kabul Saturday. General John Campbell voiced confidence about the future of Afghanistan as he neared the end of an 18-month tour of the country, though he admitted any political solution could be jeopardised by div ... read more

US missile system in S. Korea would hurt China's interests

US deploys more Patriot missiles in S. Korea

Moscow warns US over missile system deployment to S. Korea

AMEC receives contract to support Aegis Ashore in Poland

Saudi says it intercepted Scud missile from Yemen

Saab, Indian firm in joint venture for missile programs

Saudi Patriot 'intercepts' Scud fired from Yemen capital

Russia sends brand new cruise missile ship to Syria: report

Northrop Grumman UAS completes operational assessment

US Prompt Global Strike'Very Dangerous' for Strategic Stability

Headwall Introduces Ultra-Compact Data System for UAV Airborne Applications

Japan man guilty of flying drone to prime minister's office

ViaSat tapped to provide tactical terminals for Apache helicopters

Harris wins place on military communications contract

General Dynamics MUOS-Manpack radio supports government testing of MUOS network

Raytheon to produce, test Navy Multiband Terminals

BAE Systems announces upgrades to engineering vehicle

Court denies Lockheed Martin JLTV injunction request

Israel Aerospace Industries unveils new loitering munitions

NATO allies sign air-to-ground munitions pact

Report: Iran considers Russian arms deal

BAE ties up with India's Mahindra for gun assembly plant

Orbital ATK establishes Singapore regional office

Russia's Kurganmashzavod filing for bankruptcy

White House opposes bill to rename Chinese Embassy address

UK defence minister urges Argentina thaw on Falklands visit

Four NATO warships in Georgia for training at sea

Obama, Southeast Asian leaders seek united front on China

Stretchable nano-devices towards smart contact lenses

New ways to construct contactless magnetic gears

Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots

Scientists find a new way to make nanowire lasers

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement