Most of the national parks in Pakistan were established during and immediately after the initial post-independence and partition period, when Pakistan was as established separate from Great Britain and neighboring India. Pakistan has about 28 national parks. The oldest of Pakistan’s national parks established before independence is the Lal Suhanra National Park. These national parks are established to protect and conserve outstanding wildlife and scenery. The parks are protected by government legislation and are open for research and education as well as settlement. However, residents within the park are restricted from destroying the natural environment through agricultural activities and poaching.
Ayub National Park
Ayub National Park is the smallest in Pakistan with an area of 4 square miles. The park was established by President Ayub Khan in 1959. The park was under the management of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board from 1959-2001 during which the park remained a neglected area. The management was transferred to the army Heritage Foundation after which the park was restored. The park has three lakes, the Jungle World Theme Park with an amusement park and a zoo. The park has different animals including lions and tigers. The park is an important recreational center with a boating facility, aquarium, a garden restaurant and an open air theater.
Broghil Valley National Park
Broghil Valley National Park was established at Pakhtunkhwa in the Chitral District, and covers an area of 520 square miles. The park consists of mountainous terrain with steep slopes, narrow valleys, peatlands, lakes, and wide grassy plains. The valley has thirty lakes whose water comes from stones and glaciers. The park is famous for the Karamber Lake, mountain passes such as the Dakkot Pass, and the wildlife in the valley including the ibex, wolves, snow leopards, marmots, pheasants, larks, swallow starlings, and trout fish.
Central Karakoram National Park
Central Karakoram National Park is located in Gilgit-Baltistan and was established in 1993. The park is the largest protected area in Pakistan with an area of 5,367 square miles. The park is internationally renowned for rock climbing, mountaineering, and trekking supported by the highly mountainous terrain. The park, administered by Pakistan has the world’s greatest concentration of high mountains. The park has different and diverse ecological zones such as the alpine dry steppes, sub-alpine scrub zone, alpine meadows and cold deserts. These regions have an equally diverse flora and fauna including such species as mountain weasel, Marco Polo sheep, beech marten, brown bear, black-throated thrush, and the robin accentor.
Chinji National Park
Chinji National Park is located in the Chakwal District within the Salt Range, and has an elevation of 690 meters above sea level. The park was established in 1987 and is under the management of the wildlife and parks department. The protected area covers an area of 24 square miles. The area experiences a monsoon climate with frost in winter and annual rainfall of 537 millimeters the park is located within the desert and xeric shrublands biome with subtropical vegetation. The park is home to the urial, a threatened species. The park has a series of eroded land with sandstone, igneous rocks, rock salt deposits, torrential streams, and ravines.
Significance of Parks in Pakistan
Pakistan’s national park areas are important protected areas that are aimed to conserve and protect the natural environments and ecosystems of Pakistan, as well as to provide wild animals safe environments free from human interference. The parks have seen the slow increase in the population of the Marco sheep and other animals within these protected areas. Other notable national parks in Pakistan include Chitral Gol, Deosai, Deva Valata, Ghamot, Gurez, Hazarganji-Chiltan, and Hingol.