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Aaliya Mir, Kashmir’s first woman wildlife conservationist felicitated by Lt. Governor

On the occasion of International Day of Forests, conservationist Aaliya Mir was felicitated by Manoj Sinha, Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir

Aaliya Mir, a noted environmentalist’s hard work and determination has paid off as she now has the singular distinction of being the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to receive a wildlife conservation award.

On the occasion of the International Day of Forests at a function organised by the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment of the J&K Government, Mir was felicitated with an award by Manoj Sinha, the Lt. Governor of the Union Territory.

The award is in recognition of her efforts spanning diverse aspects of wildlife conservation. This includes rescue and release of wild animals, treatment of injured animals, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and managing two bear rescue centres in Kashmir.

Working as the Programme Head and Education Officer at the Wildlife SOS, Mir is Kashmir’s first female wildlife rescuer. While she has rescued Asiatic black bears, Himalayan brown bears, birds, leopards and other mammals, is well known for her work with snakes.

Aaliya Mir1
Aailya Mir has rescued many snakes from most unlikely of places

In the past many years, she has rescued snakes from unlikely places like kitchens, lawns, gardens and toilets of houses, offices, institutions and also from vehicles.

She made headlines when leading a Wildlife SOS team, a Levantine viper – a highly venomous snake – was rescued from the Chief Minister’s residence in an hour-long operation. Recalling the incident, Mir said it was released in the wild and “was one of the heaviest vipers that we had encountered and weighed around 2 kilograms.”

Apart from rescues, Mir has made the local communities aware about snakes as there is a deep-rooted fear and aversion for these reptiles among them. The wildlife rescue helpline which she started in 2021 works closely with the J&K Wildlife Protection Department in saving snakes and other wild animals.

Along with her team she also takes care of two bear rescue centres in Dachigam and Pahalgam, which house eight bears that include both Asiatic Black bears and Himalayan Brown bears. She has also been an integral part of different wildlife enumeration carried out in the State including that of hangul or Kashmir Stag and Asian waterbird.