of the following discussion is taken
from Virk et al., 2003.
The IUCN Red List of threatened
species lists 45 species of internationally
threatened animals occurring in
Pakistan. Of these, four are critically
endangered, 12 endangered and 29
vulnerable. Out of these 45 species,
18 are mammals, 17 birds 9 reptiles,
and one fish. Several of these threatened
species are found in Northern Areas.
Among the endangered
mammals are the snow leopard, Flare
horned markhor, Marco Polo sheep,
Ladakh urial, musk deer, brown bear,
and woolly lying squirrel. The population
of many bird species like snow cock
and monal pheasant is so depleted
as to be heading towards local extinctions.
Although no systematic study has
been conducted to evaluate the status
of many of these species, some site-specific
studies indicate that populations
of these species are very low indeed.
The main reasons
for such depletions are over hunting,
habitat loss and habitat fragmentation.
The Astore markhor and Ladakh urial
occurred at lower elevations and
were under heavy hunting pressure
both for meat and trophies. The
musk deer has also been hunted so
much for its scented pod that now
it is considered endangered.
Use of modern technology in agriculture
During the last few years there
has been a great change in regional
agriculture. Now farmers use chemical
fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides
that are leading to diseases in
wildlife especially insects, birds,
reddens and the aquatic fauna.
3 Lack of
The literacy rate of Northern Areas
is slight lower compared to the
rest of the country. The environment
and its related components have
hitherto been neglected, especially
by the educational institutions.
Therefore even though the people
of the area are aware of their surrounding
flora and fauna, they have little
awareness about the importance of
conservation. Traditional activities
like hunting or shooting of wildlife
have still not been banned. However,
now the government and NGOs are
trying to redress the situation
by creating awareness in communities
regarding conservation and sustainable
use of natural resources, including
4 Weak law
The rules and regulations that have
been framed regarding the protection
and conservation of natural resources
have typically not been implemented
properly due to weak law enforcement.
Therefore illegal hunting and shooting
still exist. Now the government
has started to work with stakeholders
and concerned communities for the
protection, conservation and sustainable
use of wildlife by providing some
monetary and social benefits. Such
schemes have been successful.
inventories and data
In many area there is insufficient
primary and secondary information
about wildlife status, its genetic
richness and habitat condition.
Where some information does exist
on biodiversity, it is usually not
shared widely. Published data is
also typically unknown to most people
except the authors and a few academics.
Moreover, a lot of the information
remains on files as raw data. The
government, research institutions
and others should collect this information
without further delay and share
it with all the stakeholders.
The Northern Areas Forestry Department
(Wildlife division and the KNP directorate)
is responsible for the conservation
and protection of wildlife in this
region. Their lack of adequate field
staff and proper training of existing
staff, combined with limited funds,
means that they cannot perform their
duties effectively. The government
departments and concerned NGO need
to address these issues.
Lack of research/ medical facilities
In Northern Areas there are almost
no research or medical facilities
for animal health. There is just
one animal husbandry department
which is poorly supplied with field
staff and doctors. Recently in Gojal
valley a large number of blue sheep
died due to an unknown disease.
The disease was identified after
a loss of a large number of animals.
These can be listed here as secondary
threats to wildlife and are:
• Weak polices and laws
• Little incentives
• Natural hazards (avalanches,
• Lack of prey species
• Misuse /mismanagement of
• Introduction of exotics
(trout, carp etc)
• Illegal poaching of wild
animals to sell in down country
• Killing by herdsmen to protect