All About Biological Sciences

Encompasses the Biological World

WILD LIFE IN PAKISTAN

Since the beginning of time animals have been the significant part of the human environment as has been depicted in Egyptians hieroglyphics and in paintings made by early humans in cave dwellings in various parts of the world. The references to different kinds of wild animals have been made in the Bible, Isaiah (7:24), Solomon (2:12), Moses Law (Deuteronomy 22:6), in Greek history-Xenophon speeches and also in the Holy Quran
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Wild life originally refers to all species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes occurring in the wild implying thereby undomesticated and free roaming in a natural environment. This however applies to the species as whole. For example, while one deer in a zoo may not be able to roam free, it is still considered wildlife because deer as a species occur unrestrained in the wild.
This linkage of humans and animals and the importance of wildlife in the past 100 years have been brought to limelight largely because we have learnt that their existence is inextricably tied to our own.
Pakistan being located on the confluence of the western end of the Indian sub continent and the Iranian Plateau supports a varied and interesting mix of flora and fauna belonging to the Indo-Malayan and Palaearctic regions, and also having some forms originating from the Ethopian region. Pakistan can be divided into five biogeographic provinces including Parmir, Korakoram Highlands; Anatolia-Iranian Desert; Indus –Ganges Monsoon plane, and the Thar Desert. The climatic and topographical variations in the country encourage a wide variety of ecosystem and the plant and animal life occurring in them. There are nine major ecological zones, and 19 of the 21 wetland types in Pakistan; about 6,000 plants species of which 5,000 are wild and 372 endemic. Of the 18 mammalian orders recorded the world over 10 occur in Pakistan, one species and two sub species are endemic; of 4,100 species 188 species have been reported from Pakistan. Amongst the birds 666 species out of 6,500 in the world occur in the country both resident and migratory. These are 14 amphibians’ species 400 marine fish and 125 fresh water fish species. Insects and invertebrates are represented by 20,000species of which 700 are marine.
Northern mountainious areas embracing Himalayan, Koraloram and Hindu Kush Ranges in Northern Areas, Malakand, Hazara and Azad Kashmir are rich in fauna and flora, as compard to other parts of the country. These areas provide an excellent habitat for wild life in the form of Alpine grazing lands, sub alpine scrub and temperate forests. These habitats support a variety of wild animals. The area are difficult to tread by the human beings, hence most wildlife species are still present in fair numbers through some species are endangered due to different reasons. Some of the main wildlife species are the snow leopard, black and brown bears, otter, wolf, lynx, Himalayn ibex, markhor, bharal, Marco Polo s sheep, shapu, musk deer, marmosts, tragopan and monal pheasants, snow partridge and snow cock on the higher eleveation and rheses monkey, common langur, red fox, black bear, common leopard, a variety of cats, musk deer, goral, several species of flying squirrels, chakor partridge and pheasants in the low elevations. Amongst this snow leopard, musk deer, Marco Polo sheep, brown bear are endangered. Tibetan wild ass, blue sheep population have been reduced drastically. Cheer pheasant is reported to be extinct from within Pakistan boundaries and included in the IUCN Red Data Book. Western tragopan which was reported to have been exterminated from within Pakistan territory has now been re-located in Indus Kohistan but its number is rather low.
Main threats to the population of wildlife in northern mountains region include the competition with the domestic livestock for existing natural forage increasing human interference in the form of cultivation and carving of roads through these areas, hunting for meat, as trade objects e.g., furs and skins.
Himalayan foothills and the Potwar region including the Salt Range are covered with the scrub forests which have been reduced to scanty growth at most of the  places. Medium sized animals like Punjab urial, Barking deer, Goral and Chinkara and parridges – Grey, Black, Seesee and Chakor are supported in these habitats. A variety of song bird fauna also occurs in these areas.
The desert supports a fair population of chinkara gazelle, Peacock is found only here in the wild state, mainly because of the immunity it enjoys in Hindu communities. Wild ass migrates from Indian part of the Rann of Kutch to the Pakistan part in search of forage.
Sulaiman and Kirthar range present habitats showing unique characteristics. The former supports straight horned markhor, chinkara and urial, whereas the latter is occupied by Sindh ibex, urial, chinkara and common leopard. Straight horned markhor which is almost extinct from within settled boundaries of Pakistan occurs in somewhat fair number in Tribal Areas, Chakor, Seesee and grey partridge are the birds commonly found in the tracts.
The animals found in south western mountains of Balochistan are; Sindh ibex, straight horned markhor, wild sheep, leopard ( Cheetah believed to be extinct and Mekran bear critically endangered) marbled pole cat, Blandfords fox, chinkara, goiterted gazelle and the marsh crocodile. Houbara bustard (migratory), sand grouse, black, grey, chakor and seesee partridges are also found.
Irrigated forests plantations have emerged as a new land use practice for the last 100 years. These provide excellent habitat for chinkara, blackbuck, bog deer, bluebull and partridges. But these areas are not being managed for the purpose. Forest management does not cater for the needs of the wild animals. Due to habitat disturbances the ungulates have failed to establish themselves but the partridges have flourished well.
A population of wild animals is an expression of the environment which consists of all those elements affecting animal’s chances to survive and reproduce. Six factors considered to be directly acting upon wildlife are; hazards, disease, predators, genetics (species characteristics ), resources and humans and these are surrounded by a web of indirectly acting factors. While environment affects an animal’s chance to survive and reproduce, habitat is the environmental and the specific place where an organism lives.


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