Monday, May 23, 2011

KHIRTHAR NATIONAL PARK (PAKISTAN-SINDH)

The Khirthar National Park is located in Pakistan It is situated in the Mahal Kohistan area in  Dadu district of  Sindh Province , bisecting Sindh-Balochistan border and about 140 kilometers north of Karachi  It is one of the 4 parks in Pakistan to be included in the united nations list of national parks around the world.. It is stretched over 3087 square kilometers of rugged mountain desert. It is the second largest National Park of Pakistan. It was established in 1974.


It is well known with in and outer the country as a protected refuge of Sindh Ibex, wild sheep, urial,  Chinkara , Gazelle Sindh Leopard, Stripped Hyena, Desert Wolf, Indian Fox, Sind Wild goat, Blandford's Urial, Honey Badger, Indian Pangolin, Caracal, Jungle Cat, Jackal, , Black Buck (Reintroduced ), Hedgehog, Porcupine, Indian Grey Mongoose, Cairo Spiny Mouse, Houbara Butard,, Rock Mouse, Lammegier vulture The Winter migratory visitors are a rare treat to watch  for the nature lovers and number of other wild animals, birds,  and reptile.


The government of sindh has provided special facilities to the tourists interested in wildlife and nature. SindhWildlife manages the park, where they have developed two main centers: Khar and Kharchat. Kirthar belongs to IUCN Category II protected area, designated mainly for ecosystem preservation The centers offer cottage and dormitory accommodation and guides are available. There are some 671 km of rugged road within the park, most of which is flexible only by four-wheel drive vehicle. 

Approximately one third of the park lies in the north of Karachi district and two thirds in the south-west of Dadu district. The park is part of protected areas complex, being contiguous with Mahal Kohistan Wildlife Sanctuary to the south and Hab Dam Wildlife Sanctuary to the south-west. Surjan, Sumbak, Eri and Hothiano. Game Reserve lies just to the east of the park.


Khirthar National Park is natural-untouched beauty, where the landscape, wildlife and vegetation flourish. No proper roads have left this park in its natural state, where both flora and fauna flourish in the picturesque landscape. The landscape of Kirthar hills forms a natural refuge for all kinds of wildlife and vegetation. Various forms of mammals and reptiles such could be seen inside the park. The park is home to some rare species of mammals as well as a great variety of birds. In addition the vegetation of the park comprises of various forms of shrubbery, flowers, and trees. The fauna comprises leopards, striped hyenas, wolves, ratels, urials, chinkara gazelles and rare Sind wild goats. Blackbuck antelopes are kept in enclosures for a reintroduction project at Kirthar National Park.


There are 34 species of Mammals in the park include Sindh leopard Stripped Hyena , Desert Wolf Indian Fox ,Sind Wild goat, Blandford's Urial , Honey Badger, Indian Pangolin , Caracal, Jungle cat,  Jackal, Chinkara, Gazelle, Black Buck ( Reintroduced ) Hedgehog, Porcupine, Indian Grey Mongoose, Cairo Spiny mouse  and the Rock Mouse.


Birds species are 58, which are Lammegier vulture, Bonnelli's eagle, Imperial eagle, Tawny eagle, Golden eagle, Eurasian griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Cinereous vulture, Lagger falcon, Red-headed merlin, Kestrel, Close-Barred sand grouse, Houbara bustard, Grey partridge, See See partridge, Stone Curlew, Indian sand grouse, Coronetted sand grouse, Painted sand grouse, Eagle owl , Sind pied woodpecker, Hume's chat, Brown rock pipit, Striped buning, Finche larks, Hoopoe, Shrikes and Wheatears.


Reptiles are the Rock python, Sind cobra, Russell's viper, Saw-scaled viper, Sind krait, Royal rat snake, Tortoises, Desert Monitor lizard, Yellow Monitor lizard, Sind Crocodile and different species of lizard and chameleon.
 

The park area is arid with mean annual precipitation of 150-200 mm. Most of the rainfall occurs during July and August. Temperature often remains extreme, exceeding 38O c during most of summer. There are two main climatic seasons; winter (Oct-Feb) and summer (Mar-Sept).Its geological formations are calcareous. Limestone predominates in the hill ranges and the deposits of calcareous material are common in the valleys. Sandy limestone, shells, sandy shells and sandstone also occur throughout the range. Underground water, which tends to be brackish in limestone, is fresh in sandstone formations. Here are petrified trees, calcified fossils and much more to discover. The abundance of gastropod and arthropod fossils around Dawoo Dam and patches of petrified forests near Ranni Kot and Bachani provide enough evidence that the Khirthar Range once formed the bed of the sea.

Khirthar National Park is also rich in cultural heritage apart from the abundance of wildlife There are several 18th century Chaukundi style tombs at Taung, pre-historic rock paintings and archaeological remains at Koh Tarash, and one of the world largest fort  Rani Kot. Rani Kot is the largest fort in the world, with 10 metre high sandstone ramparts stretching for a distance of 32 kilometers. It is located in the Kirthar Range, about 30 km southwest of Sann, and approximately 90 km north of Hyderabad. From a distance, some of the walls resemble the Great Wall of China and also known as “The Great Wall of Sindh” or “Deware Sindh”. Ranikot is two hours by jeep from Karchat. Another way to access RaniKot is from Saan, about four hours from Karachi via Hyderabad.
The best season to visit is from October to February. Five furnished rest houses with cooking facilities and running water are situated on the edge of a wide valley in the center of the park at Karchat. They can be booked through the Sindh Wildlife Management Board, which also hires out tents. The adventures included Jungle safari, hiking, trekking, Camping, Angling and skiing.



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