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About The Kishtwar High Altitude National Park

Context:

Recently, the research team of the Department of Wildlife Protection has confirmed the presence of snow leopard in Kishtwar  High Altitude National Park through camera trap photographs.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Kishtwar High Altitude National Park
  2. About Snow leopard

About Kishtwar High Altitude National Park

Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, located in the Kishtwar district of the Jammu and Kashmir union territory, was established in 1980 with the primary objective of protecting the endangered Snow Leopards. Here are some key details about the park:

Physical Features:

  • The park is located in the central crystalline belt of the great Himalayas and encompasses the sub-alpine and alpine zones.
  • It covers the catchment area of Kiber, Nanth, and Kiyar Nallas, which drain southwest into the Marwah River (locally known as Mariv Sudir), eventually joining the Chenab River.
  • The terrain is rugged and steep, characterized by narrow valleys and high ridges that open into glacial areas.

Ecological Features:

  • Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is known for its breathtaking alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, and lush green forests.
  • The park serves as an important ecological corridor for various wildlife species.
  • It supports a diverse array of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species.

Flora:

  • The park features a variety of temperature conifer forests, including Fir, Himalayan Yew, Deodar, Blue Pine (Kail), and Spruce.
  • In the alpine regions, extensive alpine scrub and meadows can be found.

Fauna:

  • The park is renowned as a reserve for the elusive Snow Leopard.
  • Other wildlife species that inhabit the park include Brown Bear, Himalayan Musk Deer, Hangul (Kashmir Stag), Ibex, Wild Boar, Indian Muntjac (Barking Deer), Serow (Capricornis), Himalayan Tahr, and Bharal (Blue Sheep).
  • Overall, Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is a significant conservation area, home to diverse ecosystems and rare wildlife species, with a particular focus on preserving the critically endangered Snow Leopards.

About Snow leopard

  • The snow leopard is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • The snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in CITES signatory countries.
  • Global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature Snow Leopards.
  • It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m.
  • It is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction following infrastructural developments.

-Source: The Hindu


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