If we hear the word “wildlife” huge fearsome creatures such as tigers, leopard lions, elephants, wolves, wild boars, snake, etc are comes into our mind that lives in the jungles. Whereas Pakistan is endowed with outstanding biodiversity, including unique species of wildlife.

Any living organism in its natural environment that includes all plants, animals, and micro-organisms except cultivated plants and domesticated animals are termed as “WILDLIFE”.

Wildlife The Blessing of Pakistan
Wildlife | The Blessing of Pakistan

Wildlife is a natural resource from an ecological perspective. The flora present in the forests also includes wildlife. A forest is an area of land dominated by trees, animals, and other species. Forests are the terrestrial ecosystem of earth that are also distributed around the globe. Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, that are not introduced by humans. The tropical forest is the richest habitat on earth. There are millions of species on earth but many rainforest species still unknown. Therefore, every week some new species is discovered in the rainforests.

Jungles play a very important role in the wildlife. Wildlife is also found in deserts, forests, plains, grassland. All these includes in natural renewable resources. Therefore, they are really importance to maintain the balance of nature.

Pakistan’s biodiversity contains a broad variety of flora and fauna. That are in a wide range of habitats above sea level to high altitude regions in the mountains. Wildlife Pakistan include 177 mammals and 660 bird species in total. The fauna is related to the transitional zone. Which is between the two main geographical zoological regions; the Palearctic and the Oriental.

Wild Life Protected areas of Pakistan

In Pakistan, various organizations take actions for wildlife protection. Firstly, the protected areas of Pakistan include 29 National Parks, 100 Wildlife Sanctuaries, and 90 Game Reserves. Hence, total protected areas are 219. Further 10 national parks were established between 1993 and 2005 to increase awareness of national parks.

The ‘New Protected Areas‘ statute states that a national park is a government-run protected area set aside for the protection of its natural resources, biodiversity, and ecology. So, government with NGOs and wildlife professionals take responsibility to conserve environment and nature.

The national park is for purpose of conservation for wildlife. Where any kind of human activity and hunting is prohibited. It will seek to conserve natural habitats and decline of species that recover a collection of bio-diversity, and progress of capacity agencies and community institutions. Which also provide the environmental awareness campaigns for the tourists and research purposes.

Hingole National park in Baluchistan

Hingole national park is the largest park for wildlife conservation in Pakistan. it is located in Baluchistan. The area range is about 619043 hectares. This magnificent park gloating over a portion of the most beautiful scenery of the nation could just hold the solution for tourism starved Pakistan. Because it is a place full of birds, mud volcanoes, and rough rock formations and, most importantly, its neighborhood to the beach just further means that it is a place difficult to ignore. This park forms an excellent habitat to wild Sindh Ibex, Afghan Urial, and Chinkara Gazelle. Sindh Ibex is a family of mountain goats raised in the harsh, dry mountain regions of southern Pakistan.

Kirthar National Park in Sindh

Kirthar National Park in Sindh (the third largest park in Pakistan) renowned for its natural climate. The elegance of the park complemented by the noble bird Houbara, marsh crocodiles, green sea turtles, endangered fish species including Mahasheer, Plumbeans, dolphins, ibexes, Urials, and Chinkaras. It’s a position of global interest.

Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Baltistan, known as Pakistan’s “Northern Areas”. It covers an area of over 72,971 km2. The wildlife resources of Gilgit-Baltistan are unique. In particular, bird fauna of wildlife are famous. It has great significance. Its alpine and subalpine pastures are abundant in medicinal and economically valuable plants. Ayub national park is the smallest park in Pakistan.

Khunjerab National Park

Khunjerab National Park, for example, in the cold desert eco-region, is a global biodiversity hotspot. Among the main wildlife inhabitants of the region are Snow Leopard, Himalayan Ibex, Marcopolo Sheep, Blue Sheep, Astore-markhor, Musk deer, Tibetan Wild Ass, Ladakh-urial, Fox, Brown Bear, Black Bear, and Lynx. Waterfowls, resident birds, birds of prey, and pheasants are significant species of birdlife.

Purpose of National Parks

Purpose of National Parks is in the Protection of Biodiversity. The natural world is resilient. Wildlife populations have declined 60% in the last 50 years. Since, the human population has been nurturing. The stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted for the first time in human history. It is due to increasing threats to nature such as global warming, population growth, loss of ecosystems, and the depletion of biological diversity worldwide, National parks regarded as ecological labs, protecting nature and maintaining the planet’s ecological stability.

On each continent, in every ocean, on land, and underwater, wildlife is facing extinction. The coastal environment plays a significant part in the environment’s incredible biodiversity. Human actions threaten wildlife, factors like deforestation, or by damaging those places where species live, water pollution, industrial pollution, hunting and fishing, climate change. Thus, Untreated domestic and agricultural discharges, extreme fertilizer inputs, and oil spills have a significant effect on wetlands, coastal and marine environments, and wildlife.

Red List of Endangered wildlife in Pakistan

The international union for conservation of nature (IUCN) and the climate change ministry of Pakistan have created a Red List of Endangered wildlife. Endangered species are those which are facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild, and it includes more than 50 animals that are near to extinction. So, if not protected, such species will be lost. Here is the name of some top endangered species that are critically endangered in Pakistan.

1. Markhor

Markhor is Pakistan’s national mammal, it is the great species of Capra native to Central Asia, Karakoram, and the Himalayas. It has been endangered in Pakistan since 2015, according to the IUCN Red List. In Pakistan, according to the report, Markhor has now decreased to about 2500-3000. This is mainly due to illegal hunting, targeted by wild predators, wolves, snow leopard, and deforestation.

Markhor Pakistan

2. Himalayan brown bear

A subspecies of the brown bear is the Himalayan brown bear. Also called the Himalayan red bear resides in northern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, western China, and Nepal. It is largest mammal of the region. IUCN categorized himalayan brown bear as critically endangered. It endangered in the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. The main reason for their threat is the poaching and hunting of these bears to use their internals for medicine purposes and fur and claws for ornament purposes.

Himalayan Brown Bear, Pakistan

3. White-backed vulture

White-backed vulture also known as Gidh in Pakistan. They are a common and widespread vulture, but now in Pakistan, they are near to extinct. Researchers estimate that hardly 221 vultures are present in Pakistan. The vulture plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Because they eat dead animals. It avoids harmful bacteria and viruses by eating carcass meat. That are developing on decomposing carcass and its stomach’s acids neutralize bacteria. It reduces the possibility of disease spreading to humans and other species, mammals.
In Pakistan and other nations, the use of the veterinary medicine diclofenac is the key cause for the disappearance of these vultures. Finally, it enters the system of vultures when they eat carcasses and kill vultures.

White backed Vulture, Pakistan

4. Snow leopard

The Snow leopard is a endangered, listed by the IUCN in Pakistan. They have become very rare. They are about a hundred to exist. In 2003, IUCN list snow leopard as critically endangered. It is found in hindukash and karakoram region. The reason for their endangerment is the rising threat is the general destruction and degradation of biodiversity as more.
The growth human population is also a cause of the threat for snow leopard habitat, illegal hunting, and lack of awareness . WWF has been working to protect the snow leopard by funding several programs in Central Asia to mitigate problems between leopards and humans. Thus Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan works for Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme.

Snow Leopard, Pakistan

5. Indus river dolphin

The Indus river dolphin (blind dolphin) distribution is extremely narrow and the second most endangered freshwater river dolphin. According to the IUCN, This unique animal is now being are hardly 1000 of these giant mammals in the world. The population of dolphins has gradually declined. Because, certain factors pose the threat to the habitat of river Indus dolphins like water pollution, drying up of the rivers, construction of barrages, and dam.

Indus Dolphin Pakistan

Sustainability of life on Earth

The sustainability of life on our planet depends on such a relation between the various habitats. Hence, controlling environmental degradation is critically essential for the prevention of global ocean extinction of species and the depletion of existing fisheries, marine resources, and biodiversity.

Agriculture, urban sprawl, mining, and infrastructure, or the effects of deforestation, pollution introduced species that often out-compete native ecosystems, and, gradually, climate change, continue to lose large areas of natural habitat.

Wildlife extinction and ecosystem degradation are a universal challenge that demands the uttermost compassion and effort. WWF has introduced different projects in Pakistan for the conservation of wildlife. The government of Pakistan is now very strictly protecting them. As IUCN and climate change declared them endangered. So, Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan work to conserve the endangered species.

There are still great riches left. The world will heal with our support. In a few precious areas, wildlife will flourish in astonishing numbers. Therefore, there is a the need to understand, how the natural environment work. And how to help it, has never been more critical.

Author: Kanwal Nawab
M.sc (I.E.S ).
Institute: University Of Karachi.

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