Baramulla, Jammu & Kashmir, March 11, 2018: Working in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Protection (J&K), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) organised the finals of the ‘Markhor Cricket Tournament’ — a first-of-its-kind event in Jammu & Kashmir, conducted with aim of raising awareness about the need to save the endangered Markhor (Capra falconeri) — on March 10.
Organised under the banner of WTI’s Markhor Conservation Project, 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. A match was played between Hirpora (Shopian) and Limber (Baramulla) – fringe areas where the endangered mountain goat is found. The team from Hirpora carried the day, with Amir Ahmad Malik being declared as both Man of the Match and Man of the Tournament.
“We are proud to be associated with an event that promotes physical fitness and sportsmanship, and has the noble message of nature conservation as its backdrop”, said RFO Pir Mushtaq Ahmad.
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 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 stakeholders in wildlife conservation.”
WTI’s Sameer Khazir conducted the post-match ceremony and gave a vote of thanks. “Kashmir’s wildlife, our rich biodiversity, is to be taken as a shared good. Collective efforts are needed to effect an improvement in its conservation”, he said. The event came to a close with the players, attendees and organisers taking a pledge to keep the banner of wildlife conservation flying high.