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Pakistan had no major plans or programmes to protect wildlife during the first three decades of its independence. In the early 1960's, the harm being done to the wildlife was realized. In the year 1966, Government of Pakistan constituted a Wildlife Enquiry Committee. Its responsibility was to prepare a comprehensive report on the status of wildlife in the country and to recommend a cohesive policy to protect andpreserve the country's endangered fauna and maintain equilibruim within its ecosystem. Thus, o the recommendations of Wildlife Enquiry Committee, in the first instance 2 national parks and 8 sancturies were established. Today, there are 202 protected areas in Pakistan as per April 28, 1997. The total area under conservation by these protected areas comes out to be 11.19% of the total land area of Pakistan which is 803,940 sq. miles.
The definition of National Park as approved by IUCN at its meeting held in New Delhi, India in 1969 is as under:
A National Park is a relatively large area at least one thousand hectares, where one or several ecosystems are not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educative and recreative interest or which contains a natural landscape of great beauty, where the highest competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or eliminate as soon as possible, exploitation or occupation in the whole area and to enforce effectively the respect of ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features which have to its establishment and where visitors are allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational cultural and recreative purposes.
In simple words, a National Park is an area owned by the government and set aside for the protection and preserved of its outstanding scenery, flora and fauna in natural state. It is accessible to the public for recreation, education and research activities.
Rules of the National Park
The following acts are prohibited under laws in a National Park.
- Hunting, shooting, trapping, killing or capturing of any wild animal inside or within a radius of three miles of its boundaries.
- Firing of guns or any other acts which may disturb the wildlife or interfere with their breeding places.
- Felling, tapping, burning or in any way damaging or destroying, taking, collecting or removing any plant or tree therefrom.
- Clearing or breaking up any land for cultivation.
- Construction of human settlements, roads, highways, railway line or damaging land for mining or oil and gas exploration.
- Polluting water flowing in and through the National Park.
1. Margalla Hills National Park
The Margalla Hills National Park comprises of Northern hill ranges of Federal capital of Islamabad having an area of 12,000 hectares. The topography is rugged and the elevation ranges from 550m to 1500m.
The park has a very rich lush green vegetation. The principal plant species are Dodonaea sp., Acacia sp., Olea sp., Carrissa., Aristida ap., Adhathoda sp., Themeda sp., Cynodon sp., and Pennisetum sp.
The common wild animals of this park are Gorals, Rhesus monkeys, Chinkaras, Common leopard, Foxes and Barking deers. The important bird life includes Kaleej, Cheer, Grey patridge, Black partridge and chukors. Cheer once found in this area become nearly extinct in 1978. It is now recently being re-introducedin this park with the help of World Pheasant Association.
2. Khunjerab National Park
This park spreads over an area of 2,26,913 hectares. It is one of the highest national parks in the world. Most of its area lies at an elevation of 4000m. During winter, most of the waterfall in the area freeze and temperature remains below the freezing point.
This park was established to protect Marcopolo sheep, Bharal, Snow leopard and Himalyan ibex. The Karakoram highway passes through almost the entire lengh of the park, and it is possible to see wildlife while one travels in a car or jeep. But the continous flow of traffic through the park has its own negative effects on wildlife.
The conspicuous wild life of this park includes Snow leopard, Morcopolo sheep, Bharal, Wild ass, Himalyan ibex, Brown Bear, Snow cocks, Snow patridges, and blackbirds.
3. Chitral-Gol National Park
This park covers an area of 7,780 hectares and is located in the Hindukash range, west of Chitral town. Most parts of the park is a gorge of a nullah until it fans out, where it is surrounded by high peaks. This park was proposed to protect Markhor from persecution by the local people. The wildlife of this park comprises of Markhor, Urials, Snow leopards, Snow cocks, Snow partridges, Greenwood pigeons and Chukors.
4. Ayubia National Park
This park is spread overs an area of 1684 hectares and is located in Abbotabad District (N.W.F.P). The important wild animals are Common leopard, Rhesus monkey, Koklas and Kaleej pheasants.
5. Dharune-Hingol National Park
The two separate protected areas namely Dharune having an area of 165,700 hectares have recently been merged to gether to form a big National park, the Dharune-hingol National park. It stretches over the coastal areas of baluchistan. Sindh ibex, Urials and Chinkara are the important wild animals which have been provided protection in this park.
6. Chinji National Park
This park covers an area of 6,095 hectares and is located in the Salt Range about 30 kilometers from Talagang (District Chakwal) where the annual rainfall is about 54cm.
This park was proposed mainly to protect and preserve the Urials. The hills are cris-crossed by a number of torrents that add to the supply of water in the Soan River. The river itself eventually falls into the Indus. This area is very important and interesting from a palaeontologist point of view, because a number of spectacular fossils have been collected from here.
This park is the natural habitat of the Punjabi Urial, Chinkara, Gazelle, Wild boar, Civet, Wild hare, Mongoose and Porcupines. Most of the park is fenced by 1.6m high wire netting.
7. Hazarganji Chiltan National Park
This park is spread over an area of 12,567 hectares. It is located approximately 20km southwest of Quetta. This park was established in 1978 by merging together the hazarganji State Forest and Chiltan State Forest. The main objective was to restore the population of Chiltan Markhor which is at present, labelled as critically endangered.
Other animals in the park are wolves, hyaenas, wild cats, hares and porcupines. Among the birds in the park, the see-see patridges and chukor are the most conspicuous. In the breeding season one can find warblers, shrikes, rock nuthatch, rock pigeons etc, nesting in recesses of boulders. Among the birds of prey, eagles, falcons, bearded vultures, hawks, etc. are regular visitors to the park. Replites are represented by monitor lizards, geckos cobras and vipers.
Among the trees almond, wild ash, wild olive, and pistachois are common.
8. Lal suhanra National Park
This park spread over a total area of 31.68 hectares and is located 32 km northeast of Bhawalpur. It was declared National Park in 1972. The main objectives of this park was to save Black-buck, Chinkara, and some other important species. Re-introduction of Black-buck started in 1970 with the help of WWF and the population has naw reached to about 150 animals.
There are about 302 species of palnts, 31 species of mammals, 119 species of birds of which 38 species are migratory, 27 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians and 23 species of freshwater fish in this park. The bulk of wildlife comprises of Black-buck, Chinkara, Nilgai, Caracal, Jackels, Wild boars, Houbara Bustards, Herons, Cranes, Peafowls, Sandgrouse, Mallards Black and grey patridges and Quails.
The park has few tourists huts, a helipad, an observation tower, camping sites and an information centre. It also has a playland for children, a small zoo in which the main attractions are two rhinos from Nipal.
9. Kirthar National Park
It is the largest and first of Pakistan's various National Park. This park stretches over an area o 308,733 hectares. It was established in 1970. It is located in the south-western part of Sindh. On west it is bounded by Baluchistan province and on the east by Surjan, Sumbak and hathiiano hill ranges. Approximately, 1/3 of the park lies in north of Karachi District and 2/3 in southwest of Dadu District.
This park was primarily established to protect and preserve wild goats and sheeps of Sindh. The famous wildgoat of Sindh, the Sindh ibex, Capra hircus whose population was dwindling fast has been restored in this park. 26 principal species of mammals are believed to occur in the park including Sindh ibex, Urial, Chinkara, Jackal, Fox, Hyaena, Jungle cats, Leopard, Pangolin, Ratel, Porcupine and Mongoose.
The bird fauna is equally rich. At least 58 varieties occur in the park. These include Hoopoe, Finch larks, Shrikes, Wheateaters, Wabblers, Kingfishers, Eagles, Vultures etc. Replites are represented by large monitor lizard, Geckos, Chameolons, Turtles and Tortoises and all the common varieties of poisonous snakes of the Sindh.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 YAHYA SHAHID
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YAHYA SHAHID (author) from Gujranwala on January 31, 2021: