SRINAGAR: Working in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Protection (J&K), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) Saturday organised the finals of the ‘Markhor Cricket Tournament’: a first-of-its-kind event in Jammu & Kashmir, conducted with pointed aim of raising awareness about the need to save the endangered Markhor (Capra falconeri).
In the summit clash Hirpora (Shopian) had better off Limber (Baramulla) with Amir Ahmad Malik of winning team being declared as both Man of the Match and Man of the Tournament.
The tournament, part of an ongoing series of conservation awareness events, was held at Shahkote in Baramulla and attracted a huge audience from villages around Kazinag National Park.
The match was attended by Pir Mushtaq Ahmad (Range Forest Officer, Wildlife Range, Baramulla), Bilal Ahmad Masoodi (Range Forest Officer, Social Forestry, Baramulla), Manzoor Ahmad Shah (Block Forest Officer, Social Forestry, Block Khadniyar), Mushtaq Ahmad Lone (Block Officer – Wildlife, Limber). Riyaz Ahmad (Project Head), Tahir Gazanfar (Field Officer) and Sameer Khazir (Assistant Field Officer from WTI’s Markhor Conservation Project team were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, WTI’s Riyaz Ahmad said: “Kashmir, as everyone knows, is held to be paradise on earth. The deterioration of its environment today is caused mostly by human behaviour and we must take responsibility for it.” He further expressed the hope that a sustained process of awareness-building and sensitisation would lead to the germination of an environmental consciousness, especially among the youth.
“We are proud to be associated with an event that is entertaining, promotes physical fitness and sportsmanship, and has the noble message of nature conservation as its backdrop”, said Range Forest Officer Pir Mushtaq Ahmad. “Such events are vital in making communities inhabiting the fringes of our Protected Areas the main stakeholders in wildlife conservation.”