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LAHORE: WWF-Pakistan on Wednesday hosted an evening to gather renowned environmental activists, media personnel, conservationists, environmentalists, representatives from the public and private sectors, artists and nature lovers to celebrate 50 years of the organization’s operations in Pakistan.

The organization also recognized and lauded the contributions of conservation heroes by awarding its prestigious conservation awards and officially launched the release of its much awaited documentary series - ‘Wildlife Diaries of Pakistan’.

Held in Lahore, the event paid tribute to the conservation heroes at the frontlines in protecting and preserving our natural environment. Named after renowned conservationists whose contributions paved the way for innovation and successes in conservation, the awards included the Syed Asad Ali Conservation Award, the Sardar Naseer Tareen Conservation Award, and the Richard Garstang Innovation Award.

The recipients included Nazeer Mirani, a wildlife ranger with the Sindh Wildlife Department, who was honoured for his contributions in saving the endangered Indus river dolphin; the late Nazim Jhokiyo, for raising his voice against the illegal hunting of the protected Houbara Bustard; Siffat ud Din Shah, who was recognized for pioneering community based conservation of species such as the snow leopard; Maha Luni for her youth-led environmental awareness raising in Balochistan; and Moheeb Ullah Naveed, who was awarded for his contributions towards the conservation of the common leopard and pangolin.

The ceremony was attended by renowned philanthropist and President Emeritus WWF-Pakistan Syed Babar Ali, Vice President Brig Mukhtar, Board members Nadeem Khalid, Syed Rizwan Mehboob, Hassan Qarshi, and renowned members of the business and media communities, including Abdul Razak Dawood, Simi Raheel, Sarmad Khoosat, Salima Hashmi, and Sophiya Anjam among others.

Addressing the participants, President WWF-Pakistan Nadeem Khalid said, “I extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation to all in attendance today as we shine a spotlight on these extraordinary individuals who have, over the years, emerged as the true guardians of our environment. These are the conservation heroes, whose tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to safeguarding our natural heritage have made them legends in their own right.”

Applauding the winners, President Emeritus WWF-Pakistan, Syed Babar Ali said, “It is heartening to see that the legacy of such great conservationists is being carried forward and that our younger generation is growing more environmentally conscious. I see a bright future for them and the country.”

The ceremony also marked the launch of WWF-Pakistan’s documentary series “Wildlife Diaries of Pakistan” which was unveiled, followed by a panel discussion titled “Connecting People and Nature: Using Film to Inspire Conservation Action”.

The discussion was moderated by RJ Sophiya Anjam and included conversations with the Director of Wildlife Diaries of Pakistan, Naveed Qamar, Senior Manager Wildlife Conservation WWF-Pakistan, Hamera Aisha and Director and Producer, Sarmad Khoosat. The captivating discussion enabled key conversations around how film and the media in general can spread the message of swift action towards conservation efforts.

Director General and CEO WWF-Pakistan, Hammad Naqi said, “I would like to congratulate the winners of all awards and everyone who took out the time to join us on our mission towards conserving life. I am hopeful that the conversations we had today will translate into improved action and awareness all around and will inculcate the real spirit of conservation in the minds of our future generations.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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