Biodiversity conservation in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan mountain region of northern Pakistan: Overview of big mammal protection

Abstract

The high mountains of northern Pakistan comprise the western section of the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayas (HKH) region of South and Central Asia. They are home to some rare and endangered species of fauna and flora which form an important link in the biodiversity of the region as a whole. Increasing population and changing life styles in recent decades have brought unprecedented pressures on the biodiversity of this region. Along with the government, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and communities have a crucial role to play in conserving biodiversity. In this regard, a number of undertakings to protect depleting species have been initiated by governmental and non-governmental entities. These efforts are commendable and some have produced positive results, but many exist on a small scale and, with a few exceptions, are not self-sustaining. This paper reports on some of these initiatives of conserving big mammal species like the Astor markhor, Blue sheep, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan ibex and Snow leopard, with the aim of collating and highlighting them, identifying gaps in conservation and suggesting a way forward so as to promote conservation projects on a larger and more sustainable basis.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ahmad A (2016) Community based human-carnivores conflict mitigation in Gehrate Go Community Game Reserve Chitral, Pakistan. Final Report prepared for the Rufford Foundation, London.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ahmad A, Khan S, Ahmad H (2013) Status and conservation of Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) in Bashqar Gol, district Chitral, Pakistan. Tigerpaper 40(4): 21–25.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ahmad Z, Hafeez M, Ahmad I (2012) Hydrology of mountainous region in the upper Indus basin, northern Pakistan with the perspective of climate change. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 184: 5255–5274. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-011-2337-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Alam M, Hasan SA, Ismail MA, et al. (2007) Socio-economic survey of Sheosar Lake. Report prepared for the Ministry of Environment’s Pakistan Wetlands Programme.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ali H, Shafi MM, Khan H, et al. (2015) Socio-economic benefits of community based trophy hunting. Environmental Economics 6(1): 9–17. https://publons.com/journal/59726/environmental-economics

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ali H, Younas M, Din J, et al. (2019) Do Marco Polo argali Ovis ammon polii persist in Pakistan? Oryx 53(2): 329–333. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317000229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ansell C, Gash A (2008) Collaborative governance in theory and practice. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 18(4): 543–571. https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mum032.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Archer DR, Fowler HJ (2004) Spatial and temporal variations in precipitation in the Upper Indus Basin, global teleconnections and hydrological implications. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, European Geosciences Union 8(1):47–61 https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-8-47-2004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Baig MB, Aldosari F (2012) An investigation into the vanishing biodiversity: implications for rural extension. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science 18(3): 403–409. http://agrojournal.org

    Google Scholar 

  10. Baig MB, Al-Subaiee FS (2009) Biodiversity in Pakistan: key issues. Biodiversity 10(4): 20–29 https://doi.org/10.1080/14888386.2009.9712858.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bano A, Ahmad M, Hadda TB, et al. (2014) Quantitative ethnomedicinal study of plants used in the Skardu valley at high altitude of Karakoram-Himalayan range, Pakistan. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 10(43): 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-10-43

    Google Scholar 

  12. BirdLife International (2016) Country profile: Pakistan. Available online at: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/country/pakistan (Accessed on 18 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Brower, LP (2006) An endangered biological phenomenon. In Principles of Conservation Biology. 3rd edition. Eds. Groom MJ, Meffe GJ, Carroll CR. Sinauer Associates Inc. pp 79–92.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Chaudhry AA (2010) Wetlands in Pakistan: What is happening to them?. Report on World Environment Day. Available online at: https://pecongress.org.pk/images/upload/books/Wetlands%20in%20Pakistan%20What%20is%20Happening%20to%20Them%20(5).pdf (Accessed on 17 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Chaudhry MJI (2009) Baseline study of the avifauna of Khukush Lake, Northern Areas, Pakistan. A research report submitted to the Ministry of Environment’s Pakistan Wetlands Programme. p 44

    Google Scholar 

  16. Chettri N, Shakya B, Thapa R, et al. (2008) Status of a protected area system in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: an analysis of PA coverage. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 4(3): 154–178. https://doi.org/10.3843/Biodiv.4.3:4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Din JU, Nawaz MA (2010) Status of the Himalayan lynx in district Chitral, NWFP, Pakistan. The Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 20(1): 17–22. http://www.thejaps.org.pk/

    Google Scholar 

  18. Din MS, Minhas RA, Khan M, et al. (2016) Conservation status of Ladakh urial (Ovis vignei vignei Blyth, 1841) in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 48(5): 1353–1365. https://www.zsp.com.pk>pjz

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ficetola GF, Crottini A, Casiraghi M, et al. (2010) New data on amphibians and reptiles of the Northern Areas of Pakistan: distribution, genetic variability and conservation issues. North-Western Journal of Zoology 6(1): 1–12. https://biozoojournals.ro/nwjz/

    Google Scholar 

  20. Forrest JL, Wikramanayake E, Shrestha R, et al. (2012) Conservation and climate change: Assessing the vulnerability of snow leopard habitat to treeline shift in the Himalaya. Biological Conservation 150: 129–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.03.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Fuentes-Quezada ER, Sekhranb N, Kunte-Pantc A (2000) Nesting biodiversity conservation into landscape management. Natural Resources Forum 24:83–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-8947.2000.tb00934.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gadgil M (1992) Conserving biodiversity as if people matter: A case study from India. Ambio 21(3): 266–270. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4313937

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gadgil M, Berkes F, Folke C (1993) Indigenous knowledge for biodiversity conservation. Ambio 23(2/3): 151–156. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4314060.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Geldmann J, Barnes M, Coad L, et al. (2013) Effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas in reducing habitat loss and population declines. Biological Conservation 161: 230–238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.02.018

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Gibson CC, Marks SA (1995) Transforming rural hunters into conservationists: an assessment of community-based wildlife management programs in Africa. World Development 23(6): 941–957. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(95)00025-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Government of Pakistan (GoP) (2013) Pakistan National Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection priorities: Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme. Second Draft. Prepared by the Climate Change Division, Government of Pakistan (GoP). Available online at: http://www.globalsnowleopard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Pakistan_NSLEP.pdf (Accessed on 20 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

  27. Government of Pakistan (GoP) (2014) Progress on CBD Strategic Plan 2010–2020 and Aichi biodiversity targets. 5th National Report to CBD. Climate Change Division, Government of Pakistan. https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/pk/pk-nr-05-en.pdf (Accessed on 25 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

  28. Gujja B (2005) WWF International’s regional approach to conserving high-altitude wetlands and lakes in the Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development 25(1):76–79. https://doi.org/10.1659/0276-4741(2005)025[0076:wiratc]2.0.co;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Haider S, Khatoon S, Ali S, et al. (2014) The baseline inventory of the plant biodiversity of Central Karakorum National Park Gilgit-Baltistan (District Hunza Nagar) Pakistan. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences 5(2): 413–419. http://www.innspub.net

    Google Scholar 

  30. Hameed S, Abbas K, Younas M, et al. (2013) Himalayan brown bear in Deosai National Park, Pakistan: Current status and threats. International Bear News 22(3): 17–19. https://www.bearbiology.org/

    Google Scholar 

  31. Hess R, Bollmann K, Rasool G, et al. (1997) Status and distributions of Caprinae by region: Pakistan. In Shackleton DM (Ed.) & the IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group 1997. Wild sheep and goats and their relatives: Status survey and conservation action plan for Caprinae. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 390 + vii pp.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Hewitt K (2014) The regional context. In: Hewitt K (Ed.), Glaciers of the Karakoram Himalaya, Springer Netherlands. pp 1–35.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Hussain S (2000) Protecting the snow leopard and enhancing farmers’ livelihoods: A pilot insurance scheme in Baltistan. Mountain Research and Development 20(3): 226–231. https://doi.org/10.1659/0276-4741(2000)020[0226:PTSLAE]2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Hussain S (2003) The status of the snow leopard in Pakistan and its conflict with local farmers. Oryx 37(1): 26–33 https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605303000085.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. ICIMOD (2012) Towards developing the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape - Report of the regional consultation to develop future strategic programme for biodiversity management and climate change adaptation. ICIMOD Working Paper 2012/3. Kathmandu: ICIMOD.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Jackson RM (2004) Pakistan’s community-based Trophy Hunting programs and their relationship to Snow leopard conservation. Report prepared for consideration by the Snow Leopard Network (SLN) Committee on Position Statements. 8 pp.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Jackson RM (2015) HWC ten years later: successes and shortcomings of approaches to global snow leopard conservation. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 20(4): 310–316. https://doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2015.1005856

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Jackson RM, Mallon D, Mishra C, et al. (2014) Snow leopard survival strategy. Revised 2014 Version. Snow Leopard Network, Seattle, Washington, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Jackson RM, Wangchuk R (2004) A community-based approach to mitigating livestock depredation by snow leopards. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9(4): 307–315. https://doi.org/10.1080/10871200490505756

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Khan AI (2002) Medicinal and Economic Plants (MEPs): Sustainable use demonstrations in Nanga Parbat Conservancy, Northern Areas. Report. IUCN Pakistan (MACP), Gilgit.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Khan B, Ablimit A, Khan G, et al. (2016) Abundance, distribution and conservation status of Siberian ibex, Marco Polo and Blue sheep in Karakoram-Pamir mountain area. Journal of King Saud University - Science 28: 216–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jksus.2015.02.007

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Khan B, Khan MZ, Ali R, et al. (2012) Shimshal Pamir Lakes: a prospective high altitude wetlands site for transboundary collaboration between China and Pakistan. Records: Zoological Survey of Pakistan 21: 1–9. zsp.gov.pk

    Google Scholar 

  43. Khan J (2013) Community-based snow leopard conservation through improved animal husbandry in Chitral, Pakistan. Final report prepared for the Rufford Foundation, London. Available online at: https://www.rufford.org/files/14.08.05%20Detailed%20Final%20Report.pdf (Accessed on 25 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

  44. Khan MZ, Khan B, Ahmed E, et al. (2014) Abundance, distribution and conservation of key ungulate species in Hindu Kush, Karakoram and western Himalayan (HKH) mountain ranges of Pakistan. International Journal of Agriculture & Biology 16(6): 1050–1058. http://www.fspublishers.org

    Google Scholar 

  45. Khan SR, Rahman SA (2011) Commons becoming noncommons in the efforts for reconciliation between conservation and livelihoods: A case study of Northern Pakistan. Journal of Horticulture and Forestry 3(3): 63–71. http://www.academicjournals.org/jhf

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mari F, Gallo M, Vuillermoz E, et al. (2014) Research baselines for Central Karakoram National Park management plans. Document prepared by SEED Project of Ev-K2-CNR, Italy.

    Google Scholar 

  47. McCarthy TM, Chapron G (2003) Snow Leopard Survival Strategy. International Snow Leopard Trust and Snow Leopard Network Seattle, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Mir A (2006) Impact assessment of Community Based Trophy Hunting in MACP areas of NWFP and Northern Areas. Report prepared for IUCN’s Mountain Area Conservancy Project (MACP).

    Google Scholar 

  49. Mirza MR (1975) Freshwater fishes and zoogeography of Pakistan. Bijdragen Tot De Dierkunde 45(2): 144–180. https://doi.org/10.1163/26660644-04502001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Mishra C, Allen P, McCarthy T, et al. (2003) The role of incentive programs in conserving the snow leopard. Conservation Biology 17(6): 1512–1520. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2003.00092.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Nawaz MA, Swenson JE, Zakaria V (2008) Pragmatic management increases a flagship species, the Himalayan brown bears, in Pakistan’s Deosai National Park. Biological Conservation 141(9): 2230–2241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Qureshi R, Khan WA, Bhatti GR, et al. (2011) First report on the biodiversity of Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany 43(2): 849–861. http://www.pakbs.org/pjbot/

    Google Scholar 

  53. Rafique M, Khan NH (2012) Distribution and status of significant freshwater fishes of Pakistan. Records: Zoological Survey of Pakistan 21: 90–95. http://zsp.gov.pk/index.php

    Google Scholar 

  54. Rankl M, Kienholz C, Braun M (2014) Glacier changes in the Karakoram region mapped by multimission satellite imagery. The Cryosphere 8:977–989.https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-8-977-2014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Rasheed T, Ahmed H (2012) Community conserved areas in South Asia: Pakistan. Report prepared for IUCN’s Sustainable Use Specialist Group-Central Asia (Susg-Casia)

    Google Scholar 

  56. Raza GR, Mirza SN, Anwar M, et al. (2015) Population and distribution of Himalayan ibex, Capra ibex sibrica, in Hushe valley, Central Karakoram National Park, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 47(4): 1025–1030. https://www.zsp.com.pk>pjz

    Google Scholar 

  57. Redford KH, Coppolillo P, Sanderson EW, et al. (2003) Mapping the conservation landscape. Conservation Biology 17:116–131.https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.01467.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Roberts TJ (1991) The birds of Pakistan. Vol.1. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Roberts TJ (1997) The mammals of Pakistan. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Karachi.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Rosen T, Hussain S, Mohammad G, et al. (2012) Reconciling sustainable development of mountain communities with large carnivore conservation. Mountain Research and Development 32(3): 286–293. https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-12-00008.1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Said A (2010) NAWC success stories. Report prepared for the Ministry of Environment’s Pakistan Wetlands Programme.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Schaller GB (1977) Mountain monarchs. Wild sheep and goats of the Himalaya. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA. 412 pp.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Schaller GB, Kang A (2008) Status of Marco Polo sheep Ovis ammon polii in China and adjacent countries: Conservation of a vulnerable subspecies. Oryx 42(1): 100–106. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605308000811

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Shackleton DM (2001) A review of Community-based Trophy Hunting Programs in Pakistan. Report prepared for the Mountain Areas Conservancy Project with the collaboration of IUCN-Pakistan and the National Council for the Conservation of Wildlife, Ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development. Pakistan.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Shah KA, Ahmed H (2013) Peat lands of Broghil National Park, Pakistan: human use and management strategy. In: High-altitude rangelands and their interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Kathmandu: ICIMOD Special publication. ICIMOD, Nepal.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Sharma E (2009) Proceedings of the International Mountain Biodiversity Conference Biodiversity Conservation and Management for Enhanced Ecosystem Services: Responding to the Challenges of Global Change, Kathmandu, 16–18 November 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Sharma E, Chettri N, Oli KP (2010) Mountain biodiversity conservation and management: a paradigm shift in policies and practices in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. Ecological Research 25(5): 909–923. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-010-0747-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Shedayi AA, Gulshan B (2012) Ethno-medicinal uses of plant resources in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 6(29): 4540–4549. https://doi.org/10.5897/JMPR12.719

    Google Scholar 

  69. Sheikh KM, Ahmad T, Khan MA (2002) Use, exploitation and prospects for conservation: people and plant biodiversity of Naltar Valley, northwestern Karakorams, Pakistan. Biodiversity and Conservation 11: p. 715–742 https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015584202121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Singh SK, Sharma M, Panday A (2017) Biodiversity-threats and conservation. In Environmental Science and Engineering; Vol 2. Biodiversity and Conservation (Eds RG Bhola, R Gurjar, JN Govil). Studium Press LLC, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Smith J (2008) A critical appreciation of the “bottom-up” approach to sustainable water management: embracing complexity rather than desirability. The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 13(4): 353–366. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830701803323

    Google Scholar 

  72. Somuncu et al. (2009) Review of Protected Areas system in Pakistan: Present status and problems concerning future development. Ankara Üniversitesi Çevrebilimleri Dergisi 001-015.https://doi.org/10.1501/Csaum_0000000010

    Google Scholar 

  73. Stöck M, Frynta D, Grosse WR, et al. (2001) A review of the distribution of Diploid, Triploid and Tetraploid Green Toads (Bufo viridis Complex) in Asia including new data from Iran and Pakistan. Asiatic Herpetological Research 9: 77–100. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.part.15562

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Tortell P, Nizami A, Spergel B, et al. (2006) Terminal evaluation of the Mountain Areas Conservancy Project (MACP). Government Of Pakistan, Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). PAK/98/G31 - PAK/98/014.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Valentova KA (2017) Abundance and threats to the survival of the snow leopard - a review. European Journal of Environmental Sciences 7(1): 73–93. https://doi.org/10.14712/23361964.2017.7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Virk AT, Sheikh KM, Marwat AH (2003) Northern Areas Strategy for Sustainable Development (NASSD) Background Paper: Biodiversity. IUCN Pakistan, Northern Areas Programme, Gilgit. x+74 pp.

    Google Scholar 

  77. Wang Y, Tao S, Chen X, et al. (2014) Using infra-red camera trapping technology to monitor mammals along Karakorum Highway in Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 46(3): 725–731. https://www.zsp.com.pk/pjz.html

    Google Scholar 

  78. Worboys GL (2008) Large scale connectivity conservation in mountains: A critical response to climate change. In: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation, East Asia, Taipei, Taiwan September 2–3.

    Google Scholar 

  79. WWF-Pakistan (2014) Saving Wetlands Sky High - Fact Sheet.

    Google Scholar 

  80. Yaqoob M (2002) Cold water fisheries of Pakistan. In Cold water fisheries in the Trans- Himalayan countries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 431. 376 pp. Available at https://documents.pub/document/trans-himalayanfisheries.html (Accessed on 18 April 2020)

    Google Scholar 

  81. Zahler P (1996) Rediscovery of the woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus). Journal of Mammology 77(1): 54–57. https://doi.org/10.2307/1382708

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Zahler P (2013) Community based conservation of markhor in the Tribal Areas of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. SOS Final Report. Available online at: https://www.saveourspecies.org/ (Accessed on 25 June 2018)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgement

We wish to thank COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus, Pakistan, especially Dr. Bahadar Nawab Khattak, who provided us with the research environment and encouragement to carry out extensive literature research and write this paper. Thanks are also due to our colleague Zainab Khalid for her help in researching secondary data.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Humaira Khan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Khan, H., Baig, S.U. Biodiversity conservation in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan mountain region of northern Pakistan: Overview of big mammal protection. J. Mt. Sci. 17, 1360–1373 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5113-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Big mammals
  • Trophy hunting