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Pakistan Main Page

 

Wildlife

Pakistan, with it's diverse landscape has equally varied wildlife.  The mountainous region, with it's abundant flora/fauna, is home to black and brown bears, snow leopard, wolf, lynx, otter, Himalaya ibex, markhor, bharal, marmots and many other animals.  The regions in lower elevations are home to red fox, black bear, Rhesus monkey, leopard (and other cats), partridge (and other birds).

Unfortunately, there are also several species that have become extinct or are endangered - snow leopard, Marco Polo's sheep, brown bear, musk deer. Although not it's species isn't extinct, the cheer pheasant is no longer found in Pakistan, as with the western horned tragopan.

Flora and fauna


Cedrus deodara, Pakistan's national tree.

The diversity of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows for a wide variety of trees and plants to flourish in this region. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine, and deodar cedar in the extreme northern mountains, to deciduous trees such as the mulberry-type Shisham in the Sulaiman range in the majority of the country, to palms such coconut and date in South Punjab and all of Sindh. The western hills are home to juniper and tamarisk as well as coarse grasses and scrub plants. Mangrove forests form much of the coastal wetlands along the coast in the south.

Coniferous forests in most of the northern and north-western highlands are found at altitudes ranging from 1,000m to 4,000m. In the xeric regions of Balochistan, date palms and ephedra are common floral varieties. In most of Punjab and Sindh, the Indus plains support tropical and subtropical dry and moist broadleaf forestry as well as tropical and xeric shrublands. These forests are mostly mulberry, acacia, and Eucalyptus.

According to statistics, 2.5% or about 1,902,000 hectares (19,020 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2000.

Similar to the vegetation, the animal life in Pakistan reflects the varied climatic regions of the land. The southern plains are home to crocodiles in the Indus while boars, deers, porcupines, and small rodents are found more commonly in the surrounding areas. The sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are home to a jackals, hyenas, wild cats, panthers, and leopards.


Markhor, Pakistan's national animal

In the north, a wide variety of animals have found home in the mountainous regions including the Marco Polo sheep, Urial sheep, Markhor and Ibex goats, black and brown Himalayan bears, and the rare Snow Leopard. Another rare species is the blind Indus River Dolphin of which there are believed to be about 1,100 remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in Sindh.There have been sightings of the rare Asiatic cheetahs in the southwestern deserts of Sindh and Balochistan.

Apart from crows, sparrows and myna, hawks, falcons, and eagles are the more commonly found birds in Pakistan. A lot of birds sighted within Pakistan are migratory as they make their way from Europe, Central Asia and India.

In recent years, the number of wild animals being killed for fur and leather trading led to a new law banning the hunting of wild animals and birds as well as the establishment of several wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves. The number of hunters have greatly dwindled since then.

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

The lack of vegetative cover, severity of climatic conditions, and the impact of grazing animals on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. Chinkara is the only animal that can still be found in significant numbers in Cholistan. The blackbuck, once plentiful in Cholistan, has now been eliminated; efforts are being made to reintroduce them into the country. A small number of blue bulls are found along the Pakistan-Indian border, and in some parts of Cholistan. Grey partridge, species of sand grouseand the Indian courser are the main birds of the area. Peafowl occur in some areas in Cholistan.

 

 


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