ISLAMABAD: To minimise degradation to natural environment and disturbing wildlife in the Margalla Hills, the civic body on Sunday decided to impose Section 144, putting a ban on feeding wild animals, littering and punishing violators with imprisonment instead of collecting fines.
The decision was made when Noorul Amin Mengal, the chief commissioner Islamabad, who is also the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), met Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) officials to discuss increased wildlife movements in residential areas near Margalla Hills due to which residents were facing problems. The senior official discussed various proposals regarding preservation of wildlife and safety of citizens.
The participants were concerned that visitors to the protected national park were disturbing the natural environment of monkeys, primarily by feeding them junk foods. This was a major reason monkeys were invading residential areas instead of searching for food in their natural environment causing trouble and becoming a threat to the people. If not kept in the natural environment, they would settle in the residential areas, the participants feared.
Experts favoured a complete ban on feeding wildlife and spoiling their habits. Besides scavenging for food from garbage bins, monkeys were getting used to taking food from humans.
According to a source, the CDA chairman noted that protection of wildlife as well as safety of residents from wild animals was most important. He directed installing special garbage bins and environmental friendly signboards on trails in Margalla Hills.
Under Section 144, playing loud music in the hills would also be punishable.
The CDA chairman discouraged visitors from feeding wildlife. “It is the duty of all citizens and this duty should be fulfilled,” he said, assuring support and collaboration with the IWMB, including financial assistance, for protecting the natural environment.
“Section 144 is being placed to preserve wildlife. We appealed to the residents to play their roles in preservation and protection of the natural environment. The national park belongs to the people. Our job is to facilitate all stakeholders for better manager of the park,” he said, hinting at equipping staff of the IWMB with magisterial powers to enforce the law on the spot.