In the hills of the Galiyat forests,
in an area north of Islamabad,
lies Ayubia National Park.
Stretching from Islamabad to Abbottabad and Azad Kashmir,
the parks towering mountains, evergreen forests,
and clear mountain springs make it one of the most beautiful hill stations in Pakistan.
It also contains a wide variety of species.
There are more than 50,000 people who live in the areas
neighbouring the National Park.
Every year, 60,000 visitors come to enjoy the parks natural beauty.
Hosting such large amounts of people
puts a lot of pressure on the natural resources of the park.
The areas around the park are not very developed.
The local population depends on the forest for their survival.
They collect firewood and water from nearby forests.
Local women work very hard.
They go deep into the forest to find and bring back water and firewood for their families.
They do this in the hot summers and the cold winters.
In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in the human population.
To build living spaces and homes for humans, large areas of forest have been cut down.
This means that humans now live closer to wild animals.
Cattle spend most of the summer grazing on the top of the Mashkpuri Mountain.
Leopards see the cattle grazing and follow them into the surrounding areas.
But if humans are nearby, then they sometimes fall prey to the attack.
To protect their cattle and families,
sometimes villagers kill leopards found near the place of the leopard attack.
But the leopard is an endangered species that we should protect.
Local communities depend heavily on the forests resources to survive,
but they threaten the natural beauty of Ayubia National Park and the wildlife that inhabits it.
We can rescue the park from this critical condition
while supporting locals to solve their challenges.
Governments and NGOs are helping locals by providing other sources of energy
so that they use less wood,
and by teaching them new skills so that they can make more money.
Locals are being taught how to use the forests resources properly
and are encouraged to plant more trees.
To protect the park,
we must educate people on the value of our environment.
We need to stop abusing the forests and stripping them of their wood.
We should be mindful as we expand our living spaces into the homes of animals.
Doing this would reduce the risk of wildlife coming into villages
and attacking our community members.
We can protect ourselves by protecting nature.