Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Khunjerab National Park

Posted By: aftab hussain - 12:05 AM


& Comment

Khun-zerav National Park (wrongly known as khunjerab) is a national park in Gilgit Baltistan of Pakistan. Khun means "blood" and zerav is "to stream" in Wakhi, the native language. The name has been wrongly pronounced and written for a long time because the language was not developed at that time and its is difficult to pronounce by speakers of other languages.
The Khunzerav National Park was established primarily as a means to protect the Marco Polo sheep (as well as snow leopards and bharal) living in the area. The borders of the park were mapped by Schaller in 1974, after a short field survey. The park was formally established on April 29, 1979 by Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who said that "it must become a world famous park".
Despite being listed as a category 2 national park, banning human activities including agriculture and hunting, the park was poorly managed, meaning that illegal hunting of the Marco Polo sheep continued. Because of this, the International Union for Conservation of Nature commissioned Norwegian biologist Per Wegge to do a wildlife survey of the park in 1988. Wegge found that there was no evidence of competition between the domestic sheep being illegally grazed and the wild Marco Polo sheep, and that most of the illegal hunting was not being done by local Wakhi residents, but by Pakistani military and civil officials. He therefore proposed that the park be reclassified, allowing grazing and commercial hunting, with the profits going to local residents. However, the government overlooked Wegge's suggestions, instead drawing up a new management plan, which both the IUCN and the World Wildlife Fund supported as a means to preserve the park and protect the wildlife. Wegge was critical of the government scheme, claiming that it was based on financial considerations, with the Pakistani government hoping to attract tourists to the area. The IUCN agreed with this, and has since distanced itself from the national park. To help protect the animals from poaching, the WWF has created the Khunzerav Village Organization, which relies on people living in the area to report poaching or endangered animal sightings.
Khunzerav National Park is Pakistan's third largest national park. It is adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve (1,400,000ha) in China. This park was created on 29 April 1975 on the recommendation of wildlife biologist Dr. George Schaller. Over half of the park is above 4,000m. Khunjerab Pass, the gateway to China via the Karakoram Highway, is at 4,934m.

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