April 24, 2014
Islamabad, April 25, 2014 – In celebration of Earth Day 2014, Walkabout Films’ documentary, Deosai – The Last Sanctuary, about endangered Himalayan brown bears living on the Deosai plateau premiered on April 24 at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad. U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson and Pakistani natural history film maker Nisar Malik delivered remarks at the film’s opening. The U.S. Embassy’s Ambassador’s Fund provided support for this project. Ambassador Olson noted the film well fit his new vision for the Fund, which now supports wildlife conservation projects, in addition to the focus areas of water, sanitation and hygiene; women’s issues; entrepreneurship; and cultural preservation.
Ambassador Olson expressed admiration for the immense tourism potential of Pakistan’s wildlife and natural beauty. “I look forward to the day when people from around the world flock to Pakistan to hike over the Hispar La, rally in the Cholistan Desert, admire the massive sea cliffs of Gwadar, or simply enjoy bird-watching at Rawal Lake,” Ambassador Olson said.
Nisar Malik noted that “Pakistan is rich in natural history. Walkabout Films is pleased that the Ambassador’s Fund supported us with the “Give Back Project” that allows us to create awareness through visual education. This resource will soon be available to educators globally for free via the internet.” Walkabout Film’s new “Give Back” project follows the best practice of engaging members of local communities in conservation efforts.
Building on 20 years of journalistic experience with film crews in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan, Nisar Malik started Walkabout Films in 2004 and was instrumental in filming snow leopards for Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series in 2004. He then hosted the award winning Snow Leopard – Beyond the Myth. Since then, Walkabout Films has become one of the leading nature and wildlife filmmakers in the South Asian region. The Walkabout Films team has completed projects for National Geographic, Adventure One, the BBC Natural History Unit, Channel 4, Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Nisar has also been awarded the President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance award for his service in conserving Pakistan’s natural heritage.
The U.S. Ambassador’s Fund supports small scale, high impact initiatives designed by Pakistan’s grassroots organizations and community groups. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) manages the Fund and the National Rural Support Program (NRSP) works closely with grassroots organizations to support activities for up to one year in duration.