The climatic borders are changing
6 Dec, 2017
.. by Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
It is a matter of concern for all of us to see the rapid changes that take place one after another due to climate change and this is very clearly noticeable that many climatic zones have lost some of their previous features and entered a new phase that many crops did not grow in many parts of higher regions but now they do. Many crops of the past, say forty years ago, have been inadvertently left to their fate that are no more grown by the small land owners of Chitral and the adjoining areas. Many types of pulses have become obsolete and seed of those crops are no more available anywhere in many parts of Chitral . This is lamentable for our present and next generation as with the disappearance of the seeds the crops have disappeared and as a result the new generation is ignorant of the shape, colour, size and kind of the grain as well as its plant. With that the words of our language relating to those particular crops and the dishes are no more to be found anywhere. This is a loss to our culture and it is going rapidly. The new generation is no more interested in such losses to our culture but they are engrossed in the operation of the latest magic gadgets and the software that has caught our children unaware.
As the environmental changes are following one another the wild life is also in the grip of these changes. I was travelling a few days ago and at a certain village I noticed that some crows were busy at a garbage heap and there was a Kishipi very close to them. With reference to old Chitral it is known everywhere in Chitral that climatic divide for these birds used to be at Mashelik-the gorge where the Golen Gol Hydal project is under construction- the upper part of the valley of Chitral was then occupied by magpies and the lower Chitral region was occupied by crows and they did not violate this climatic border but now the crows have crossed that traditional border and have reached upper side of the border and share the food with the magpies at Mroi and may go up further scavenging. Why did they do such an interference in this matter is better known to them but we may infer that due to climatic change-the temperature being higher than ever- the crows feel convenient at Mroi where they did not enjoy neither winters nor summers in the past.
This change in the behavior of wild birds, for a layman like me, is an indicator that weather conditions have become warmer than before and may go up further in near future leading to displacement of native birds or other wild life from their original habitats as jackals had done such an encroachment about ten years ago and had snatched the food from foxes who then alone enjoyed rubbish or dead animals but now their food is mostly downed by jackals, leaving little for the original and rightful candidates. This type of displacement or encroachment may lead to crucial results as jackals are much more shameless and rash than foxes and appear in settlements in broad day light where foxes shy and feel insecure in such cases.
This change may lead to other serious situations in the animal kingdom and shortage of food may result in quarrels among wild life as wolf would not tolerate such interference by jackals so will bears or leopards where as snow leopard is a genuine loner and never tolerates any other wild flesh eater except its own fellows. What could be done in this changing situation could be solved by scientists and other professional of the world but would any such expert bother to tell me that as a lay man what should I do in my circle of activity to keep the change a bit slow that it really is going? and enlighten me out of this ignorance about the threat of great change and what should be my duty? .. Prof Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 06 Dec 2017