Pakistan is a unique country with many hidden wonders! The British called it the land where the Three Empires meet. Nestled in South Asia the Wakhan corridor connects it with Central Asia, China with southeast Asia while Kashmir to India. Home to the junction of the three mighty mountain ranges -The Himalayas, The Karakorum, and The Hindukush, Pakistan has eight 8000-meter peaks of the world with K2 being the second largest in the world. It has the world’s highest cold desert and the largest glaciers outside Poles. The extension of the Himalayan Foothills called Siwaliks to contain some unique and oldest fossil records of life. Towards the south, the country has extensive deserts like Thar and Cholistan with their unique fauna and flora along with endemic Indus River Dolphin. The Arabian Sea connects it with the Indian Ocean forming the world’s deepest harbor and beautiful beaches with swamps of mangroves and coral reefs.
Despite the tremendous biodiversity, most of the citizens live in oblivion of this natural heritage. Topics covering biodiversity and conservation have never made it to the educational curriculum resulting in a lack of awareness and appreciation amongst the youth. Mirroring the global scenario, hunting, poaching, and habitat degradation due to lopping and improper waste management pose major threats to the dwindling biodiversity of the country.
CO Pakistan hub is one of the first initiatives in the country aimed at engaging with the youth, who make up the majority of the country’s population to make them custodians of their local biodiversity. We are hoping to start by contacting local schools and educational institutes by arranging productive webinars with them and utilizing their potential in creative activities that generate awareness regarding biodiversity conservation and show its positive impact on people. Most of the country’s biodiversity is still unexplored and we are committed to involving our youth in such exploration activities. We believe that together, change is possible!
The hub comprises a dedicated team of enthusiastic members and we are happy to introduce them,
Faizan Naeem: Hub Mentor
Faizan is an enthusiastic and passionate animal lover which led him to pursue a career in Biology. He has completed his Masters’s in Ecology from the University of Bremen, Germany in 2019. He has five years of experience in teaching and research on different aspects of Biology and is currently doing research in Margalla Hills National Park adjacent to the capital of Pakistan. He always tries to engage students in lively classroom discussions with creative learning assignments. His goal is to create a network of ecologists who promote the involvement of the local community in biodiversity conservation.
Atif Yaqub: Hub Mentor
Professor Yaqub’s profile is the blend of academics, research, and administration experience stretched over two decades. Dr. Atif earned his Ph.D. in 2011 from Government College University, Lahore; though, he covered a significant portion of research at the University of Florida, the USA as a split site. Earlier, he carried out several research projects of WWF-Pakistan and other Government departments. Prof. Yaqub ambitiously looks forward to carrying out wildlife conservation activities within Pakistan.
Bilal Mustafa: Hub Manager & Coordinator
Bilal Mustafa is a wildlife biologist. Hailing from a rural background he was engaged with nature since his childhood. He was fascinated by the wildlife of the agroecosystems. This led him to engage in wildlife conservation in his career. He worked as an intern at WWF Pakistan and engaged in handling wild animals at Lahore Zoo. Later on, he completed his graduation with his thesis understanding the diversity of birds in the agroecosystems. Currently, he is serving as a youth council member at Reserva: The Youth Land Trust.
Abdul Moiez: Hub Creative Media Head
Moiez is a zoologist from a small city in South Punjab. He experienced wilderness at his doorsteps in the form of Rohi and Thar deserts. He moved to Lahore seeking his love for nature and animal sciences. He is a talented artist and has skills in graphic designing, video editing, and motion graphics. He has a keen interest in the betterment of nature with an inclination towards desert ecosystems. He believes in the power of digital art for raising awareness among local people.
Muhammad Umar: Hub Creative Media Assistant
Umar is a young environmentalist and filmmaker from Government College University, Lahore. He has directed and produced many award-winning short films and documentaries including “Wastewater” and “River Ravi-My Story”. These films won 16 film awards and 12 nominations and brought glory to the parent institute in the All Pakistan Short Film Competitions held across the country in well-known universities.
Maria Mubarak: Hub Outreach Officer
Being a botanist, saving and preserving nature is always included in Maria’s aims. She has organized a number of webinars and workshops to increase awareness regarding the importance of conservation of biodiversity as the Vice president of Horticultural Society, Government College University, Lahore. Recently she headed the “Mega Plantation Drive 2021” which is considered as largest plantation drive in the history of educational institutes of Pakistan and planted 40,000 indigenous trees of different species that are at the threat of extinction in the country.
Naba Rizwan: Hub Blog Editor
Naba Rizwan is a student of Biosciences at Capital University of Science and Technology, Islamabad. Driven by her ardent passion for Wildlife conservation, she has worked with her team for snow leopard decline in Pakistan and has created many posters, flyers, videos, infographics for social media campaigns. As part of her university project, she also made a report for Indus River Dolphins Status in Pakistan.
Sawera Gondal: Hub Social Media Officer
Sawera is currently working as General Secretary of the Psychological Society in Government College University Lahore, arranging multiple online and on-campus events regarding zoonotic diseases. She is also a nature photographer and an avid tourist. By combining social work, photography, and writing with her passion for tourism she loves to work for the benefit of humanity.
Shawaiz Khusnod: Hub Communication Officer
Belonging from a semi-urban background Shawaiz has always been involved in rescuing animals from the urban environment including freshwater turtles or monitor lizards. He is currently pursuing a career in environmental economics.
You can contact us through our social media channels @conservationoptimismpakistan or directly reach us through our email id firstname.lastname@example.org