Wildlife in Pakistan

ghazi52

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Wildlife in Pakistan

The mountainous areas embracing the Himalayan, Karakorum and Hindukush Ranges are rich in fauna and flora, as compared to other parts of the country. These areas provide an excellent habitat for wildlife in the form of alpine grazing lands, sub-alpine scrub and temperate forests. These habitats support a variety of wild animals.

The areas are difficult for human beings to access, hence, most wildlife is present in reasonable numbers though some are endangered for other reasons. Some of the main wildlife species are the snow leopard, the black and the brown bears, otter, wolf, lynx, Himalayan ibex, markhor, bharal, Marco Polo's sheep, shapu, musk deer, marmots, tragopan and monal pheasants. The snow partridge and snowcock reside at higher elevations.

The Rhesus monkey, common langur, red fox, black bear, common leopard, a variety of cats, musk deer (over a limited area), goral, several species of flying squirrels, chakor, partridge and pheasants (koklass, kaleej and cheer) live in the lower elevations. Amongst these the snow leopard, musk deer, Marco Polo's sheep, and the brown bear are endangered. The Tibetan wild *** and the blue sheep populations have been reduced drastically.

The cheer pheasant is reported to be extinct from within Pakistan's boundaries, and is included in the IUCN Red Data Book. The western horned tragopan was reported to have disappeared from within Pakistani territory, but has now been relocated to Indus Kohistan, although its numbers are low.

The main threats to the population of wild animals in the northern mountainous regions include, the competition with domestic livestock for existing natural forage, increasing human interference in the form of cultivation, the construction of roads, and hunting.

The Himalayan foothills and the Potohar region, including the Salt Range and Kala Chitta Range, are covered with scrub forests, which have been reduced to scanty growth in most places. Medium-sized animals like the Punjab urial, barking deer, goral, chinkara, partridges (grey and black), seesee and chakor are supported in these habitats. A variety of songbird fauna also occurs in these areas.

Vast Indus flood plains have been cleared of natural vegetation to grow crops. Very little wildlife habitat has been left untouched. Only animals like the jackal, mongoose, jungle cat, civet cat, scaly anteater, desert cat and the wild hare occur in these areas. Hog deer is found in riverine tracts. The crop residues and wild growth support reasonable populations of black and grey partridges.

Little vegetative cover, severity of climatic conditions and the great thrust of grazing animals on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. Parts of Thall and Cholistan are now being irrigated, with the situation almost identical to that of the flood plains. Chinkara is the only animal, which can still be found in average numbers in Cholistan, but rarely in Thall. The blackbuck, once plentiful in Cholistan has now been eliminated. However, efforts are being made to reintroduce them back into the country. A small number of blue bulls are found along the Pak-Indian border, and some parts of Cholistan. Grey partridge, species of sand grouse and the Indian courser are the main birds of the area. Peafowl occur in some areas in Cholistan.

The Thar Desert supports a fair population of the Chinkara gazelle. Peacocks are only found in the wild, mainly because of the protection they enjoy in Hindu communities. The wild *** migrates from the Indian part of the Rann of Kutch to the Pakistani part in search of food.

The Houbara bustard is a regular winter visitor to the desert. Visiting diplomats have hunted and reduced their numbers. The great Indian bustard is sporadically sighted. The imperial sandgrouse is another migrant visiting these areas. Grey partridges are frequently sighted. The python is also threatened with extinction.

The Sulaiman and Kirthar Ranges present habitats manifesting unique characteristics. The former supports the straight-horned markhor, chinkara and urial, whereas Sindh ibex, urial, chinkara and common leopard occupy the latter. The straight-horned markhor, which is almost extinct from within settled boundaries of Pakistan, occurs in somewhat fair numbers in the Tribal Areas. The chakor, seesee and grey partridge are birds commonly found in the tracts.

The reed beds and tamarisk bushes along the rivers support hog deer and black partridge populations. However, due to occasional heavy floods their numbers have also been reduced. The Indus dolphin, fishing cat, and smooth otter are found in the Indus River waters below the Chashma Barrage. The gavial has become extinct in Pakistan. The crocodile is found in small numbers in lower Sindh. Wild boar numbers have increased because of the immunity they enjoy in a Muslim society that forbids its consumption by humans.

The animals found in the south-western mountains of Balochistan are: Sindh ibex, Chiltan markhor, straight horned markhor, wild sheep, leopard, marbled pole cat, Blandford's fox, chinkara, goitered gazelle and the marsh crocodile. The cheetah, is believed to be extinct and the Makran (baluchistan) bear critically endangered. The Houbara bustard (migratory), sandgrouse, black and grey partridges, and the chakor and see see partridges are also found here.

Irrigated forest plantations have emerged as the prevailing land use practice for the last 100 years. These ideally provide excellent habitat for chinkara, hog deer and blue bull. Forest management does not cater to the needs of these wild animals. This, coupled with the poor implementation of laws has resulted in the extinction of species in the irrigated plantations. Due to habitat disturbances, the ungulates have failed to establish themselves, whereas the partridges have flourished well.

The striped hyena and the wolf are widely distributed in the sparsely populated parts of the country. However, information about them is scanty. Information about carnivores in general is difficult to obtain because of their nocturnal mode of life and high mobility. The black bear and brown bear populations are also not understood completely.

Birds of prey like the peregrine, cherrug or saker falcons, tawny eagle, imperial and greater spotted eagles, osprey, shikra, and the black-winged kite occur throughout Pakistan but their population statuses are unknown.

Pakistan's coastline of 1,050 km consists of a variety of habitat types, supporting a wide range of animals, of which over 1000 are fish species. Pakistan's marine flora and fauna have not been studied properly. Hence, detailed information on these species is deficient. Along the shores, there are four species of marine turtles: the ridley, green, leather back and hawksbill turtle, which are of high economic importance. Due to loss of habitat and human disturbances, their population is also decreasing.

About eight species of freshwater turtles are found in Pakistan. Sand lizards, monitors, geckos, agamas, diamond snakes, sand snakes, vipers, cobras, kraits and the famous Indian python constitute the other reptilian fauna.

Large water bodies in the country support a variety of waterfowl both resident and migratory. The extent of wetlands is constantly being changed. On one hand, swamps and marshes are being drained to reclaim land, whereas on the other hand, new dams (large water bodies) have been created for irrigation purposes. Canal irrigation through seepage has also contributed towards increasing the land area under water in the form of water logging. Such areas support a great number of waterfowl by providing them with an excellent habitat. The wetlands are one of the most important wintering areas and "green routes" of Asia. T

he important waterfowl in Pakistan are the ducks (mallard, pintail, shoveler, pochard, gargeny, ruddy shellduck, teals, tufted and gadwall), geese (grey lag, bar-headed), coots, flamingoes, pelicans, spoon bills, storks, ibises, plovers, curlews, sand pipers, snipes, and herons. The marbled teal and white-headed duck have decreased in number and now visit the wetlands infrequently. Among the waterfowl are (resident) gallinules, moorhens and rails, gulls, terns, water cock, grebes, cormorants, egrets, bitterns, and jakanas. The spot-billed lesser whistling teal and the cotton teal are resident ducks. A rich wader fauna visits the coastline during the winter.

Efforts have been made to document the status of wildlife and in some cases, the correct status is known, whereas most of the information about their populations is sketchy. With the strengthening of wildlife organisations in the country more reliable information can be obtained.


http://www.wildlife.pk/index.php?cmd=wildlife&action=biodiversity
 

ghazi52

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Spread over 38,429 acres, Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, is another beautiful national park of Pakistan. "Hazarganji" literally means "Of a thousand treasures". In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, that, there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Mongols and then the great migrating hordes of Baloch, all passed this way. The area is mountainous with precipitous slopes divided by ravines. The Chiltan Hills and Hazar Ganji Range lie west and east, respectively, of the north-south Chiltan divide. It can easily be reached from the provincial capital Quetta and attracts many visitors. Facilities include a museum, picnic spots and accommodation in rest houses. This park was primarily established to provide refuge to the endangered Chiltan wild goat or Markhor. In the 1950s it was said to exceed 1,200, but in November 1970 the population was estimated to number about 200, based on a total count of 107 individuals. At present the total population of the Chiltan wild goat is estimated to be about 800. The Suleiman markhor is also present in the northern part of the Chiltan Range and a few urial still survive on the western slopes between 1,500m and 2,100m. Carnivores include Stripped hyena and Red fox.

Other mammals in the park include Indian wolf, Leopard, Caracal, Jackal, Red fox, Porcupine and Desert hare. Houbara bustard, Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Honey buzzard, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Scops owl, Common cuckoo, European bee-eater, Rock partridge, European nightjar, Long-billed pipit, Orphean warbler, Variable wheatear, Blue rock thrush, Stonechat, and Lichtenstein's desert finch are some of the bird species found in the park.

Reptiles in the park include Monitor lizard, Russell's viper, Saw scaled viper and Spiny tailed lizard.
 

ghazi52

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Kirthar National Park :

Kirthar National Park is the the second largest national park of Pakistan spread over an area of 3000 square kilometres. Kirthar was designated a national park by the Sindh Wildlife Department in 1974, the first of Pakistan's parks to be included in the UN's listing of National Parks of 1975. In addition, Kirthar qualifies for the strict criteria fixed by IUCN for a Category II protected area, designated mainly for ecosystem preservation.

The rolling valleys and rugged lines of the Kirthar hills form a natural haven for Urial sheep, Ibex and Chinkara gazelle. Jungle cats, desert cats and even the occasional leopard or desert wolf also prowl the park. Pangolin (scaly anteaters), porcupines and monitor lizards abound the park area. The best season to visit the park is from October to February, since in summers it is scorching hot. However, it is the greenest in August during the monsoons.

Other attractions in the park are the 18th century Chaukundi style tombs at Taung and pre-historic archaeological remains at Koh Tarash. The enormous Rani Kot Fort is also within the park, two hours by jeep from Karchat. Rani Kot is about four hours from Karachi via the Super and the Indus Highways.
 

ghazi52

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Margalla Hills National Park, is located in the foothills of the Himalayan range. The topography is rugged, with numerous valleys and many steep and even precipitous slopes. The area is drained by the River Kurang and its tributaries, which flow into the River Soan. This park is the most accessible park in Pakistan due to its close proximity to the national capital, Islamabad. A visitor centre is planned for Daman-E-Koh, providing lounge accommodation and an information service. Lodges, camping grounds and picnic sites are also planned and the provision of a chair lift may be considered.

Margalla Hills are unique in Pakistan, being rich in Sino-Himalayan fauna, some species (especially birds) of which are at the western extremity of their distribution. It is an extension of the Islamabad wildlife sanctuary, which includes the Shakar Parian Hills and the Rawal Lake. The park was setup to provide refugee to the Gray Goral, Barking deer and the Leopard. Protection to these animals have benefited other unusual and interesting smaller animal as well. Margalla Hills Park provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching. A Cheer Pheasant hatchery has been established at Chak Jabri and Dhok Jewan to raise captive Cheer pheasants that have become extinct in the hills. These are then released in the wild.

Asiatic leopard, Wild boar, Golden Jackal, Rhesus Macaque, Leopard cat, Gray Goral sheep, Barking deer, Chinkara gazelle, Red fox, Pangolin, Porcupine, Yellow throated marten and Fruit bats are some of the mammals found in the park.

Birds in the park include Himalayan Griffon vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Egyptian vulture, White cheeked bulbul, yellow vented bulbul, Paradise flycatcher, Black partridge, Cheer pheasant, Khalij pheasant, Golden oriole, Spotted dove, Collared dove, Larks, Shrikes, Wheatears and buntings.

Besides, a number of species of reptiles like the Russell's viper, Indian cobra, Himalayan pit viper and Saw scaled viper are also found in Margalla Hills Park.
 

ghazi52

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Ibex, Khirthar national park, Jamshoro, Sindh ..

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ghazi52

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Houbara Bustards

BAHAWALPUR: International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) Abu Dhabi and Houbara Foundation International Pakistan jointly released 150 captive bred houbara bustard in the Cholistan desert.

In the past several years, hundreds of birds have been released, amongst which the largest number was 600 houbara released in March 2015, 200 houbara were released in February 2016 and 500 birds were released in March 2017. These birds are from the bloodline of Pakistan’s resident species and were released to reinforce country’s current population of the species in the wild.

A recent report published by IFHC revealed a revolutionary success in their breeding programme by producing over 59,000 houbara bustard across their breeding centres; releasing thousands of captive-bred birds to help sustain existing wild populations.

Ever since the breeding programme began, over 206,000 houbara have been bred. Of these, around 137,831 birds have been released into the wild. IFHC is now producing over 59,000 houbara every year. Having been under highly specialised care, the birds being brought to Pakistan have been well-prepared to manage themselves in the wild. All the birds were individually tagged with identification rings while selected birds were also tagged with satellite transmitters for scientists to carry out monitoring of the birds after release and record their movements, habitat preferences and ability to breed.

After the release, the data would be generated bi-weekly. Movement patterns and changing locations of the birds would be communicated to Houbara Foundation International Pakistan for field validation and further investigations.

Before being moved from Abu Dhabi to Pakistan by air, the birds were closely examined and certified fit.


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ghazi52

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Indus river dolphin numbers on the rise with the help of local communities

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© WWF-Pakistan

Indus river dolphin numbers have increased dramatically over the past 16 years, thanks largely to successful community-based conservation efforts.

A new WWF survey says there are now an estimated 1,816 Indus river dolphins in Pakistan—almost 50% more than the 1,200 dolphins estimated during the first comprehensive census in 2001 when the species appeared to be on the brink of extinction.

“Significantly increasing the number of Indus river dolphins over the past 15 years is a remarkable achievement considering the ever-increasing pressure on the river and the species,” said Hammad Naqi Khan, director general of WWF-Pakistan. “And it shows that progress is possible when governments, conservationists, and communities work together.”

The survey ran from March 20 to April 13 during low water season when the dolphins are most concentrated and easiest to count. A team of 20 scientists and researchers from WWF-Pakistan, Zoological Survey of Pakistan, and provincial wildlife departments, academia canvased the Indus river dolphin range. Except for a tiny, isolated population of about 30 in India’s Beas River, Indus river dolphins live exclusively in the Indus river in Pakistan.

A species in need

Even with the welcomed bump in population numbers, Indus river dolphins remain endangered and in need of continued conservation action. Currently confined to just 20% of their natural habitat range due to the construction of numerous dams and barrages along the Indus River, the dolphins are also threatened by worsening water pollution, stranding in irrigation canals, and accidental capture in fishing nets.

WWF has led an innovative and collaborative approach to save the species, integrating research, effective law enforcement, and critical community engagement. Since 1992, WWF-Pakistan and the Sindh Wildlife Department have led a dolphin rescue program, which has saved 131 dolphins from being stranded in irrigation canals and safely released them back into the main river. We’ve also established a dolphin monitoring network in collaboration with local communities, Sindh Wildlife Department and other important government stakeholders , along with a 24-hour phone helpline that people can call if they see a dolphin in distress.

“Indus river dolphin numbers would still be decreasing if it were not for the active participation of communities along the river,” Khan said. “They are our eyes and ears, and have helped bring these iconic animals back from the brink. Our efforts to save the dolphin are also critical for these communities since the species is an indicator of the health of the river, upon which tens of millions of people depend.



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ghazi52

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Documenting Sindh's dwindling birdlife –
frame by frame

Mirza Naim Beg

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Long legged buzzard perched on a rocky outcrop at DHA Phase 8 - PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG


KARACHI: After having served for years as a banker, Mirza Naim Beg has now dedicated his life to wildlife photography and bird watching.

Beg shares with The Express Tribune his concerns over the loss of birdlife in Sindh.

According to the bird guide, ‘Birds of Pakistan’ there are around 750 bird species in the country but Beg and his birders have been able to document many species which have not been photographed previously.


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Black Rumped Flameback Woodpeckers are found across Sindh and have been recorded from Kathore, Haleji Lake and Mirpur Sakro. – PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG

Beg recalls, how he alone had recorded more than 275 species across the country and around 180 only from Sindh.

“We have been able to photograph a lot of new bird additions for Sindh such as the sandwich tern, bar tailed godwit, dunlin, blue-cheeked bee-eater, reed warbler, short-toed snake eagle, yellow-eyed babbler, Spanish sparrow, Macqueen’s bustard, rock sparrow and little tern,” adds Beg.


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Common Kestrel, is a bird of prey species that hunts voles, insects and small birds. It is a winter migrant, most commonly recorded in the Western hills of Sindh. PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG

In hopes of raising awareness about birdlife of Sindh and its conservation, Beg suggests authorities should establish new bird sanctuaries because there are hardly any in the country.

“I’ve been able to photograph a lot of rare birds near my residence in the Defense Housing Authority, Phase 8. Birds such as the yellow wattled lapwing, grey francolin and long-legged buzzard are rare species which will disappear forever,” he fears.


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Yellow-footed green pigeon is a species of green pigeon that is mostly found near forested areas. It has been recorded from Kathore, Mirpur Sakro and Haleji Lakes – PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG

“I hope a sanctuary is created near the DHA Phase 8 graveyard where there is a lot of scrub and trees left for these birds but I see that our authorities only make false promises and rampant development of new housing projects continues,” he adds.

Beg further blames illegal hunting for affecting the bird population.

“But we have successfully informed the local police department and they have actively bird hunters”.


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Threatened Cinereous vulture (left) and Eurasian Griffon vulture (right) are winter migrants photographed here near Kathore – PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG

Haleji Lake, he says, was once the largest freshwater lake in Asia home to around 1.5 to 2 million migratory birds. But in just 15 years the freshwater in the lake has been largely contaminated leaving only flocks of cormorants around the lake.

Beg shares fond memories of how three years ago when he started photography in the backwaters of Port Qasim around the power plant, he was able to find a flock of over 300 flamingos which visited the lush green creeks.



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Long legged buzzard perched on a rocky outcrop at DHA Phase 8 – PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG

“But today due to reclamation projects and pollution, flamingo numbers are so reduced that only in May, I spotted a flock of around only 50 flamingos in the same area which use to have hundreds,” he adds.

Beg’s team has also discovered a ‘birding paradise’ in Kathore where they have photographed species rarely seen or found elsewhere in Sindh, including Asian paradise flycatcher, black-naped oriole, cream-coloured courser, cinereous vulture and steppe eagle.



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A flock of Greater flamingo lands near a mangrove creek of Port Qasim – PHOTO COURTESY: MIRZA NAIM BEG


But Beg hasn’t lost hope. He says people are increasingly getting more aware of the need to save their wildlife and our group ever-growing membership proves.

“In order to educate and create more public awareness about wildlife conservation and photography, I am planning to showcase more such exhibitions and lecture at our local schools and colleges because I genuinely believe that photography is the best way to save species.”


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Baya weaver is a weaverbird mostly found near wetlands, they have been recorded from Haleji lakes, Gadap area and Mirpur Sakro – PHOTO COURTESY: SALMAN BALOCH


Over the past three years, Beg has gained immense popularity for organising wildlife tours and photography trips through his own Karachi-based tour agency called ‘Dream Merchant Studio’ which now has over 40 active members and over 200 wildlife photographers associated with it.

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Birders save an injured bird –


Besides this Beg maintains an active Facebook group of around 1,601 members called ‘Birds Of Sindh’ that provides a platform for aspiring bird watchers to network and amateur wildlife photographers to showcase their work, the inspiration of this platform was the 9,591 members strong Facebook group called ‘Birds of Pakistan’ which motivated Beg to pursue photography in the first place.
 

ghazi52

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Wild Dogs​

These are members of family Canidae, order Carnivora. These are characterized by having digits on forelimbs, of which the first one is vestigial, hind feet possess four digits, claws non retractile, external pinna pointed, tail long and bushy, no stripes or spots are found on the body. The two familiar species found in Pakistan are Canis lupus, the wolf and Canis aureus, the jackel.

The wolf is comparatively larger in size than the jackel, males measures upto 65cm while females about 50cm at shoulder, coloration varies from place to place, body usually covered with thick greyish or grizzled colour hairs. Found in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, being very common in Cholistan and Tharparkar district.

The jackels are found throughout Pakistan in mountainous areas, forest plantations and riverline thickets. Its narrow head and pointed muzzles are fox-like but other physical features are doglike. The haircoat is grizzled tawny buff colour, tips of bushy tail is black, maximum height is 45 to 50cm.

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ghazi52

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Snow leopards

Snow leopards have been forced to the edge of extinction by hunting and human encroachment and are now one of the world's most endangered animals. In the far north of Pakistan, locals have long feared them but find themselves now relying on money that saving snow leopards brings in. What is it like living alongside a ferocious predator? M Ilyas Khan finds out.

Substantial investment programmes are in place to help preserve these rare animals which, though rare and beautiful, present a serious threat to livestock.


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"These are pastoral communities with heavy dependence on livestock, and a carnivore's presence scares them," said Dr Ali Nawaz of Quaid-e-Azam University who supervises an internationally-funded snow leopard programme in Pakistan.


A hairy encounter

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  • Some 4,000 to 6,000 worldwide; between 200 and 400 in Pakistan
  • Native to the mountains of Central and South Asia, their range stretches over more than 80,000 sq km (31,000 square miles) in Pakistan's extreme north
  • Mostly feed on wild animals, but livestock is also fair game
  • Retaliatory killings by farmers are not uncommon but are rarely reported

But despite all these efforts and interventions, livestock still remains central to an economy which has not yet moved beyond the subsistence level.

And this entails a continuing conflict between humans and wild predators - every year there are reports of livestock damaged by snow leopards, and of snow leopards being shot or poisoned to death by angry farmers.

"Retaliatory killings are a knee-jerk reaction, and they continue to happen because even the community, which may disapprove of it, tries to cover it up to avoid trouble with the authorities and the donors," said Dr Nawaz.

"By comparison, the population of wild mountain goats has decreased by at least 50%, and nearly half of their ranges have been lost to livestock and farming."

Pakistan is still home to between 200 and 400 snow leopards, Dr Nawaz says, but sustaining this population will require a massive effort of the international community at what he calls the "landscape level".

In this setting, the policemen and the wildlife rangers posted in remote valleys act as a stabilising factor in relations between communities and conservationists.

Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF)

A non-profit organization set up under section 42 of the companies Ordinance 1984 with Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

Affiliated with the Snow Leopard Trust, USA, the SLF is dedicated to conserve viable populations of snow leopards and other wild carnivores as an integral part of landscapes across Pakistan.
 

ghazi52

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Bears

Heavily built animals with large rounded heads, protractible lips, short tail, short rounded ears, plantigrade feet, digits armed with long non-retractile claws, cheek teeth being tuberculate and there are carnassials, sense of smell very acute, chiefly vegetarian in diet, feed mostly on fruits, honey and ants, sucks up ants from their hills, occasionally kill sheep and goats, usually comes out at night, breed once a year.

The two species of bear found in Pakistan and Ursus arctos, the brown or red bear and Selenarctos thietanes, the black bear. The red or brown bear is restricted to alpine meadows and subalpine scrub forests of Chitral, Gilgit, Baltistan and Hazara division.

Population is very sparse. Body is covered with dense reddish brown fur. It is comparatively larger in size than black bear.
 
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neat

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Wildlife in Pakistan

The mountainous areas embracing the Himalayan, Karakorum and Hindukush Ranges are rich in fauna and flora, as compared to other parts of the country. These areas provide an excellent habitat for wildlife in the form of alpine grazing lands, sub-alpine scrub and temperate forests. These habitats support a variety of wild animals.

The areas are difficult for human beings to access, hence, most wildlife is present in reasonable numbers though some are endangered for other reasons. Some of the main wildlife species are the snow leopard, the black and the brown bears, otter, wolf, lynx, Himalayan ibex, markhor, bharal, Marco Polo's sheep, shapu, musk deer, marmots, tragopan and monal pheasants. The snow partridge and snowcock reside at higher elevations.

The Rhesus monkey, common langur, red fox, black bear, common leopard, a variety of cats, musk deer (over a limited area), goral, several species of flying squirrels, chakor, partridge and pheasants (koklass, kaleej and cheer) live in the lower elevations. Amongst these the snow leopard, musk deer, Marco Polo's sheep, and the brown bear are endangered. The Tibetan wild *** and the blue sheep populations have been reduced drastically.

The cheer pheasant is reported to be extinct from within Pakistan's boundaries, and is included in the IUCN Red Data Book. The western horned tragopan was reported to have disappeared from within Pakistani territory, but has now been relocated to Indus Kohistan, although its numbers are low.

The main threats to the population of wild animals in the northern mountainous regions include, the competition with domestic livestock for existing natural forage, increasing human interference in the form of cultivation, the construction of roads, and hunting.

The Himalayan foothills and the Potohar region, including the Salt Range and Kala Chitta Range, are covered with scrub forests, which have been reduced to scanty growth in most places. Medium-sized animals like the Punjab urial, barking deer, goral, chinkara, partridges (grey and black), seesee and chakor are supported in these habitats. A variety of songbird fauna also occurs in these areas.

Vast Indus flood plains have been cleared of natural vegetation to grow crops. Very little wildlife habitat has been left untouched. Only animals like the jackal, mongoose, jungle cat, civet cat, scaly anteater, desert cat and the wild hare occur in these areas. Hog deer is found in riverine tracts. The crop residues and wild growth support reasonable populations of black and grey partridges.

Little vegetative cover, severity of climatic conditions and the great thrust of grazing animals on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. Parts of Thall and Cholistan are now being irrigated, with the situation almost identical to that of the flood plains. Chinkara is the only animal, which can still be found in average numbers in Cholistan, but rarely in Thall. The blackbuck, once plentiful in Cholistan has now been eliminated. However, efforts are being made to reintroduce them back into the country. A small number of blue bulls are found along the Pak-Indian border, and some parts of Cholistan. Grey partridge, species of sand grouse and the Indian courser are the main birds of the area. Peafowl occur in some areas in Cholistan.

The Thar Desert supports a fair population of the Chinkara gazelle. Peacocks are only found in the wild, mainly because of the protection they enjoy in Hindu communities. The wild *** migrates from the Indian part of the Rann of Kutch to the Pakistani part in search of food.

The Houbara bustard is a regular winter visitor to the desert. Visiting diplomats have hunted and reduced their numbers. The great Indian bustard is sporadically sighted. The imperial sandgrouse is another migrant visiting these areas. Grey partridges are frequently sighted. The python is also threatened with extinction.

The Sulaiman and Kirthar Ranges present habitats manifesting unique characteristics. The former supports the straight-horned markhor, chinkara and urial, whereas Sindh ibex, urial, chinkara and common leopard occupy the latter. The straight-horned markhor, which is almost extinct from within settled boundaries of Pakistan, occurs in somewhat fair numbers in the Tribal Areas. The chakor, seesee and grey partridge are birds commonly found in the tracts.

The reed beds and tamarisk bushes along the rivers support hog deer and black partridge populations. However, due to occasional heavy floods their numbers have also been reduced. The Indus dolphin, fishing cat, and smooth otter are found in the Indus River waters below the Chashma Barrage. The gavial has become extinct in Pakistan. The crocodile is found in small numbers in lower Sindh. Wild boar numbers have increased because of the immunity they enjoy in a Muslim society that forbids its consumption by humans.

The animals found in the south-western mountains of Balochistan are: Sindh ibex, Chiltan markhor, straight horned markhor, wild sheep, leopard, marbled pole cat, Blandford's fox, chinkara, goitered gazelle and the marsh crocodile. The cheetah, is believed to be extinct and the Makran (baluchistan) bear critically endangered. The Houbara bustard (migratory), sandgrouse, black and grey partridges, and the chakor and see see partridges are also found here.

Irrigated forest plantations have emerged as the prevailing land use practice for the last 100 years. These ideally provide excellent habitat for chinkara, hog deer and blue bull. Forest management does not cater to the needs of these wild animals. This, coupled with the poor implementation of laws has resulted in the extinction of species in the irrigated plantations. Due to habitat disturbances, the ungulates have failed to establish themselves, whereas the partridges have flourished well.

The striped hyena and the wolf are widely distributed in the sparsely populated parts of the country. However, information about them is scanty. Information about carnivores in general is difficult to obtain because of their nocturnal mode of life and high mobility. The black bear and brown bear populations are also not understood completely.

Birds of prey like the peregrine, cherrug or saker falcons, tawny eagle, imperial and greater spotted eagles, osprey, shikra, and the black-winged kite occur throughout Pakistan but their population statuses are unknown.

Pakistan's coastline of 1,050 km consists of a variety of habitat types, supporting a wide range of animals, of which over 1000 are fish species. Pakistan's marine flora and fauna have not been studied properly. Hence, detailed information on these species is deficient. Along the shores, there are four species of marine turtles: the ridley, green, leather back and hawksbill turtle, which are of high economic importance. Due to loss of habitat and human disturbances, their population is also decreasing.

About eight species of freshwater turtles are found in Pakistan. Sand lizards, monitors, geckos, agamas, diamond snakes, sand snakes, vipers, cobras, kraits and the famous Indian python constitute the other reptilian fauna.

Large water bodies in the country support a variety of waterfowl both resident and migratory. The extent of wetlands is constantly being changed. On one hand, swamps and marshes are being drained to reclaim land, whereas on the other hand, new dams (large water bodies) have been created for irrigation purposes. Canal irrigation through seepage has also contributed towards increasing the land area under water in the form of water logging. Such areas support a great number of waterfowl by providing them with an excellent habitat. The wetlands are one of the most important wintering areas and "green routes" of Asia. T

he important waterfowl in Pakistan are the ducks (mallard, pintail, shoveler, pochard, gargeny, ruddy shellduck, teals, tufted and gadwall), geese (grey lag, bar-headed), coots, flamingoes, pelicans, spoon bills, storks, ibises, plovers, curlews, sand pipers, snipes, and herons. The marbled teal and white-headed duck have decreased in number and now visit the wetlands infrequently. Among the waterfowl are (resident) gallinules, moorhens and rails, gulls, terns, water cock, grebes, cormorants, egrets, bitterns, and jakanas. The spot-billed lesser whistling teal and the cotton teal are resident ducks. A rich wader fauna visits the coastline during the winter.

Efforts have been made to document the status of wildlife and in some cases, the correct status is known, whereas most of the information about their populations is sketchy. With the strengthening of wildlife organisations in the country more reliable information can be obtained.


http://www.wildlife.pk/index.php?cmd=wildlife&action=biodiversity
you should see the way illegal hunters in Pakistan kill and throw away Siberian ducks
 

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