Chitral Gol National Park
Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan and into the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains lies one of the country’s most spectacular regions Kshatriya’s peaks are so high and remote that its summits seem to touch the heavens isolated in its d…
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Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan and into the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains lies one of the country’s most spectacular regions Kshatriya’s peaks are so high and remote that its summits seem to touch the heavens isolated in its deep valleys are colourful independent tribes such as the Kailash people with unique festivals and traditions the chat rallies are proud and hospitable people with an abiding passion for polo most villages have a team matches are contested on the highest.
Polo Grounds in the world manyancient ways of life are preserved herebut also protected among these toweringPeaks is one of Pakistan’s hidden gemschitral gol national parkit’s renowned for its dramaticlandscapes treacherously steep cliffsand for one extraordinary animal inparticular the mark or the cliff walkersof chitral goalShatrughan is one of Pakistan’s leastknown national parks it’s tucked away inthe.
Hindu Kush mountains one of the mostinaccessible parts of the country andclose to 8,000 hectares it’s not thelargest of parks but what it lacks inarea it makes up for in dramatic scalethere is a nearly three kilometer dropbetween the highest peaks and the valleyfloor the winters are long and cold andthe summers are hot and dry but in spiteof the challenging climate and ruggedlandscape animals and plants cling on inmany extraordinary and resilient ways onthe upper slopes there are so littlesoil that the ODA trees spread theirroots over the resistant Rock anchoredlike.
This Durga D’ass can reach 25meters in height but it takes themcenturies slowly but steadily son livefor a thousand years or morethe stately do-dah is Pakistan’snational tree in fact Chitral goal National Park kpk Pakistan is a sanctuary to four ofthe country’s national treasuresincluding the national bird the Joker orRock Partridge the national plantjasmine and most iconic of all themarkerthe unsung heroes of the park are theinvertebrates the workers who recyclelife’s basics and help create the littlebit of mountain soil on which all otherplants and animals depend from the topof the valleys to the bottom late summeris the time for life to flourish a greatvariety of plants have found ways toHardy themselves.
Against the coldwinters and to take advantage of thewarm summer’swhen they set seed there’s an abundanceof ripening fruitson which Chitral goals many species ofbird will flatten up Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan breathtaking landscape makes big demandsso animals have to make the most of anybreak they can get the steep-sidedvalleys create powerful up currents ofhot air called thermals heavy birds suchas llama gaia vultures take advantage ofthis rising air to gain height moreeasily up here they’ve a better chanceof spotting their next meal even themighty.
Golden Eagle is pushed toextremes like all large animals it mustcover huge distances to find enough toeatsecretive rarely seen wild cats such asa Lynx mother with her two cubs mighthave to travel tens of kilometers tofeed the familywolves are marathon travelers too theypatrol and scent mark along the boundaryof their home range to keep rival wolfpack’s outsheer cliffs are off-limits to mostpredators which is why sure-footed markor use them as safe havens but even theymake mistakes if a marker FaChitral Gol National Park Pakistanlls to itsdeath it’s an easy mealno one overlooks the vulture isn’talways the first to arrive but it easilybullies.
The Ravens to one side a shiftin the weather heralds the end of Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan harsh summer it’s when theparks most celebrated resident the markor face their greatest challenges from chitral goals highest peaks autumnchill descends through the valleys it’sthe signal for Marco to move downslopein readiness for the bitter winter aheadMarco are one of the largest wild goatsin the world males can weigh over 100kilos and their impressive corkscrewhorns are often over a meter longfemales are much smaller but this can bean advantage when the Markel move intothe stands of Holly oak which providethem with a staple diet of acorns andLeafs.
At this time of year the lightlybuilt females can climb right into thetrees to reach the younger moresucculent leaves growing on the tips ofthe branches their split toes and thesensitive leathery soles on their feetgive them excellent grip the very samebalance and agility that allows them toleap so effortlessly across sheer rockwalls the males are powerfully built andtheir balance is extraordinary – butthey’re simply too heavy to climb thetree instead they thrash their heavyhorns to try to dislodge the leaves andacorns once the food has fallen sizeTrump’s agilityyousince leaving the high-altitude summerpasturesthey’ll have been spending eight totwelve hours each day looking forsomething to eat among the rockycrevices and gullies females togetherwith this year’s young huddle into smallherds as much for safety as anythingelse there’s always danger aboutthe older animals know their way aroundthe landscape the youngsters need tolearn not just escape routes but whereto find an essential ingredient that’smissing from their normal diet it’s onthe other side of this mountain streamfast-flowing meltwater has cut throughthe rock exposing banks of mineral saltsthe mark on need to look at the rocksalt to make sure they get thesupplements they need it’s vital theystay healthy for the difficult monthsaheadin.
The first two weeks of December Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan the male Marco face their toughest time ofthe year the male’s mostly live alonebut now they seek each other outyoutentatively nervously they will besizing each other up after days workingout who has the best chance of matingwith the nearest femalesbattle commencesit’s not just their size and power thatcounts the terrain and their choice ofstandpoint can be make-or-break thestakes are so high the tension andclashes continue well past sundown aclear winner will mate with up to 30females the loser faces an uncertainfuture with snow already dusting thehigher slopes life’s about to get evenharderwinter is a punishing time of yearmeters of smoke and blanket chitra girlthe macaw remain at lower elevationsstill reliant on the Hollyoaks to keephunger at baybut.
They’ll have to walk long distancesacross icy rock to find new sources offood they regularly need to leave thepark and feed in the adjoining valleysand this is when wildlife and the peopleliving around the boundary of shit rogueall national park together feel thepinchchitron people are very resilient butwhen heavy snowfall blocks the mountainpasses they’re more or less cut off fromthe outside world because it’s so coldfuel is in short supply families rely onwhat they find around them for basicneeds like worker Mohammed especially inwinter we rely on wood for cooking andstaying warm many trees around the parkhave already been felledbut the only trees left here are in thenational park and if they were to be cutdown to the forests.
Have become bare andthe animals would leave it’s not justwood cutting that affects the markerit’s hungry livestock too especiallywhen nomadic herdersgooge’s bring their herds into the areadecades ago there was enough food foreveryone now it’s a different storyas the winter wears on the grazing wearsout towards the end of winter the goodyears even enter the National Park tocome bow of evergreen Holly oak asfodder for their animals keeping theiranimals alive is exhausting workHashim 60 goats need a huge amount offood a day they’re his family’s entirelivelihood but he knows the area issuffering too these are the sameHollyoaks that mark or another wildlifedepend on we’ve been coming here for 30yearsjust like over just an active or helicamwould be impossible to survive hereafter a year or two we are bound here atthe moment okay I have a prodigalratnick have any much we run hairspraygive us any key no but that’s what youhave the forest is near to its end andafter that we will need to go beyondthis place the nomadic googe’s will moveaway but local herders have no otheroption.
But to stay here their problemsare mounting and they need longer-termsolutionsover grazing around the national parkhas had other knock-on effects to itsreduced the amount of food for marco andherders mostly blame snow leopards forpicking off domestic animals insteadpredators have even stalked right intovillages to attack herds gathered instone Corral’s traditionally villagershave protected their animals in openenclosures the old Corral had low wallswhich meant that wild animals attackedour livestock and we suffered hugelosses the snow leopard foundation keento improve the prospects of both snowleopards and herders has stepped in tohelp firstly they’ve helped fun new Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan.
Corral’s tall sturdy stone walls preventpredators from getting in and the nettedroof allows good ventilation for theanimals helping them to stay healthythey fatten up much better in here ifone or two Corral’s are built in eachcommunity people would be very happy andthese livestock would stay safe the lossof any animal is a blow but a recentsurvey conducted by the snow leopardfoundation has revealed that relativelyfew livestock are killed by wildpredators the results of that surveyshows that a number of animals that died from diseases it’s very high compared tothose that are killed by wolves or SnowLeopardit suggests that well over 60% oflivestock deaths result from ill healthand malnourishment to address this problem.
Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan herders how to keep their animals vaccinated against disease inolden times people did not get theiranimals vaccinated today they have itdone a lot herders are already reapingthe rewards of fitter healthier animalsthere has been a big increase in theamount of milk that owners are gettingfrom these animals the animals becomehealthy their milk production increasesand their meat gets better as a resultpeople are benefitting economicallythrough raising awareness and withrelatively simple measures the day today life of local herders has improvednow the mortality rate in herds hasdecreased a lot now diseases don’tspread and our herds are safe from wildanimal appearbut there’s a wider benefit if moreanimals survive under healthy thenshepherds can make a better l iving withfewer animals smaller herds mean lessover grazing and that improves thefuture for wildlife.
In the area to landthat was previously exhausted can berested and trees and shrubs allowed togrow back the well-being of the NationalPark is clearly tied to that of thepeople who live around its bordersfor some locals the mutual benefits arealready very clear I am proud of thefact that I hail from a village next tothis national park I am a part of thisNational Parkesra feels the direct benefits of livingnext to this national asset becausesince 2004he’s worked within it as one of tencommunity watchers who helped protect ityoung boys I wake up early every morningand patrol the entire area to protect itwe ensure that nobody comes from outsideto cut the wood to destroy or take awaythe medicinal plants or harm thewildlife such as the mark or I’m gonnastand up on Jerry so job Sameer but eversince.
I’ve become a part of the WildlifeDepartment my life has completelychanged the monthly salary I receive isquite enough for me to support mychildren and myself properly but thereare many other ways in which localpeople can engage with and benefit fromconservation in the Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan town market traders are doing brisk business sellingtree saplings which they’ve grown somecustomers buy trees to make their gardens beautiful but it’s alsoimportant to replant hillsides that havebeen logged or / grazed as Akbar Aliwell nurse I thought the heritage thathas been lost it is our duty toreplenish it if we are going to clear itaway unchecked then there would befloods and other natural disastersthat’s.
Tokyo tiger landslides and floodshave increased in recent years plantingtrees helps to bind the soil andcontrols the runoff of heavy rain ifless topsoil ends up in the rivers theyield from crops improves tooas well as easing the pressure on thelandscape replanting the hillsidesoffers ways to make money as these treesmature they will provide wood for fueland fencing a variety of high-valueorchard fruits and even fodder forlivestock some local plants havemedicinal properties Artemisia forinstance can be used as an antisepticremedy and growing them could provide anextra income stream another source ofrevenue is the hunting of large maleMarco but only in some areas outside thenational park trophy animals olderanimals with impressive horns areraising hundreds of thousands of dollarsin hunting fees but these operationsmust be carefully organized and overseenso that the financial benefits arespread fairly throughout the area forthat to happen general awareness needsto be raised to understand how to keepthe mark or population healthy and howcaring for the surrounding area helpseveryone.
I got a lot if people gainawareness they will automaticallyprotect it because it will be embeddedin their minds that this is for theirbenefit Akbar Ali believes the bestpeople to protect the park and itssurrounding area are the localsthemselves the young generation will dothiswho else no outsider would come andprotect it we have to be here live heredie here that’s ittherefore it is our obligation toprotect it the chief conservator of theprovince Safdar Alicia knows that youngpeople are vital to the future care ofsuch a large remote area we run aneducation and awareness program at schools.
Where we give lectures to ninthgrade students and give them the messagethat since you will be the policy makersof tomorrow politicians of tomorrow thiscountry’s decision-making will be inyour hands so this is a message to ouryouth the day strengthen our grip theyshould become our eyes earsand feet their lives could be enrichedfrom the long term protection of chitralgoal we have to transfer it to ourfuture generations just the way it is sothat they will be happy seeing it as itis what else could be of greaterhappiness to usit’s essential that local communities engage their hearts and minds with thischallenge because the day-to-dayprotection of such vast rugged terrainis a daunting job.
Every day and in allweathers just a small handful of staffwalk miles and miles patrolling the parkboundaries to make sure animals andplants are kept safe these wardens and Watchers need more resources and equipment especially better ways for thestaff to stay in contact with each othermobile phone signals might not reachsuch deep ravines and if problems arisethe guards need to mobilize quickly andeffectively the job can be dangerouson top of this and even though theWildlife Department has limited fundsthey need to monitor numbers of markerand other animals that live in the parktogether with local wardens and Watchersthey climbed to special vantage pointsfrom where they can see far and wide I’mSalvado.
Davao twice a year we conductsurveys of all the wildlife thatincludes birds predators and otheranimals there is also the lambing surveywe conduct in july focusing on mark horalone to find out how many new formshave been born these surveys are helpingto build up a more accurate picture ofwhat lives in the park against all theodds and thanks to the help of communitywatchers like his run the markerpopulation has risen from just over 600in 2005 to nearly 1400 in 2015 we havethe community watches on board with ustherefore our manpower has increasedprotection has improved and so thepopulation has increased in tetryl goalpopulation we worrywith wildlife numbers on the up the parkcould become a great draw for touristswhen we come from the cities we arecoming to feel something different.
Weare coming to breathe fresh airI didn’t know much about the naturalpark but now I’m here and I see thesetrees the mountains I’m so inspired thewhole view it’s a beautifulcoming here is like standing in ourheavens it gives you a serenity like youcan feel like you are out of the worldbecause chitral is so remote it’s beenvery hard to get to traffic and suppliesneed to be brought over mountain passeson weather-beaten roads but big changeis on the way a much needed tunnel isunder construction cutting through themountain which will improve access andboost visitor numbers if they get therethe water damage as the LaLaurie tunnelgets down to the finishing stagescountless tourists would come thenbecause the environment here is pleasantthe people receptive tourists arealready arriving to take advantage of Chitral goals stunning scenery andbringing much-needed revenue into theregion.
But unregulated it could causenew problems too of mindlessly cuttingwood for campfires and much more rubbishwe have come to visit this beautifulplace the environment is clean herehowever it makes me sad that people likeus come here and leave behind all thisrubbish this is sad they should not dothis whereas I’m a-gonna did allvisitants have a responsibility to cleanup after themselves we are in theprocess of developing a code of conductfor the tourists before entering thenational park people should know aboutthe basics of the parkour prohibitions and the do’s and don’tsbut at least there are good foundationsto build onit is a reflection of our success thatthe areas.
Where there were onlyfootprints of these animals but nonewere seen a substantial number of theseare found in those areas these daysobviously I feel proud and I feel thepeople of Chitra should feel proud ofthatWildlife is an indicator of the healthof an ecosystemshatral goal is an amazing success storyand therefore a positive sign withlimited resources and in challengingterrain staff have done wondersimproving wildlife numbers within thepark good lessons have been learnedespecially the positive involvement oflocal people valuable experience whichcan be shared elsewhere the nextgeneration are well-placed to carry onthe good work if they learn how specialthey are and how their lives will beenhanced through care of theirsurroundingsthen both they and the extraordinarycliff walkers of chitral goal canflourish well into the future
Chitral Gol National Park is situated in the beautiful valley of Chitral. Chitral Gol is a narrow valley, its gorge running for some 18km before broadening out into a basin surrounded by high peaks. Numerous tributaries drain into the Chitral Gol, which flows southwards into the Kunar River. Visitors and Visitor Facilities Include two hunting lodges, originally built by the Mehtars.
Wildlife Chitral Gol National Park Pakistan:
This park is famous for its Markhor goats, estimated 100-125 in 1970, and 225 in 1975. A more recent estimate indicates a population size of 650. Other ungulates, such as Siberian ibex and Ladakh urial (Shapu), occur in very small numbers, as do black bear. The status of snow leopard changed from tenuous security in 1970 to seriously threatened by 1974. The species does not appear to be resident, visiting the park occasionally. Wolves are seen less frequently following restrictions on grazing by livestock.
Mammals in the park include Snow leopard, Kashmir Markhor, Siberian ibex, Ladakh urial, Black bear, Tibetan Wolf, Red fox, Yellow throated martin and Himalayan otter.
Common bird in the park are Lammergier vulture, Himalayan Griffon vulture, Golden eagle, Demosille crane (Passage migrant), Peregrine falcon, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan monal, Snow partridge and rock Partridge.