ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) on Monday decided to launch strict action against the tourists and visitors for bathing in freshwater springs that got filled after massive mon­soon rains and helped replenish the de­pleting ecology.

The IWMB forest guards during their routine patrolling spotted many fami­lies including men, women and children bathing in springs of Trail-5 that had at­tained maximum water level in its dried and abandoned springs after a prolonged dry spell. An IWMB official told APP that the tourists and seasonal trekkers were showing irresponsible and disrespectful attitude towards the Mother Nature and pristine ecology of the Margalla Hills Na­tional Park (MHNP) that was protected after many preservation efforts.

The tourists believed to be at the trails to beat the heat by bathing in freshwater springs that were a source of pure water for humans and wildlife alike and the practice of polluting it was equally det­rimental for all.

The recent abnormal torrential rains that had lashed out almost all of the country had also showered record rain­fall in the national park that overflew its dry freshwater springs, he added.

Hills National Park homes rich biodiver­sity and ecology spreading over an area of 17,000 hectares facing serious risks due to wild fires, arson, poaching, hunting and tree cutting. The threat of deforestation, poaching, hunting have been controlled through the preservation and protection measures by the IWMB through public and community mobilisation and it also assisted in increasing green cover in the protected area.

The official added that the conserva­tion efforts had also improved vegeta­tion on the hiking trails and across the national park that replenished the aqui­fer of the Margalla Hills. “Water level has improved specially at Trail-6 where all water springs are filled with water stretching over some three kilometres area. Trail-6 is also a leopard preserve zone which is not open for public and hence has unprecedented green cover and plants in the area.”

The IWMB official underlined that the IWMB staff patrolling was improved in the National Park to control tree cutting, pollution, littering in the protected area and bathing in the freshwater springs.

“The water in springs to remain till the months of November and December this year as the experts claim. The aquifer of Margalla Hills National Park has also filled to its maximum which is almost 30 feet deep,” she mentioned. According to Professor Dr. Zahid Baig Mirza, Se­nior Board Member IWMB, she said the overflowing water springs indicated re­plenished aquifer which had attained its maximum level after rains.

Rina mentioned that the wildlife species had dispersed in the National Park due to ample availability of water throughout the protected area and might not be spotted frequently inside the wild area of the trails.

Margalla Hills National Park, she said, was the most well staffed national park of the country with a regular strength of 70 personnel with efficient management.