Section 5: Protected Areas Systems
Biodiversity Action Plan, Pakistan, Government
of Pakistan, August 1999
areas set aside specifically for protecting wildlife is not a
new concept in Pakistan. The early rulers or Mirs often declared
certain areas as preserves especially for this purpose so they
would have a sufficient supply of game animals for hunting.
first forest reserves set up under the British period in the mid
1800's, more often than not circumscribed the same areas
previously set aside by the Mirs. Under the British forest
system, habitat was protected and to some degree wildlife
Outside the Indus basin, wildlife has maintained itself due to
the remoteness and inaccessibility of the terrain, especially in
the northern mountainous, tribal areas. Local chieftains with a
passion for hunting often recognised the value of putting
certain areas off limits to hunting to allow animal populations
to build up.
Thus, coming into the present century there were a number of
areas scattered around the country that served to protect
wildlife. Except for the reserved or protected forests, few
received more than a minimum amount of management and many were
passage of the Wildlife Protection Ordinance in 1959 and
issuance of the Wildlife Protection Rules in 1960 authorized the
establishment of sanctuaries and reserves for game. Wildlife was
formally recognised as an important natural heritage.
Following the 1966 and 1967 World Wide Fund for Nature
expeditions in Pakistan to assess the state of the environment,
recommendations were made to the Government of Pakistan for the
establishment of parks and reserves. The Wildlife Inquiry
Committee, appointed in 1968, had additional functions, which
included the selection of suitable areas to be set aside as
national parks or reserves and making recommendations concerning
legislative, administrative and other measures to set up and
maintain them. It was well-recognised that in order to conserve
wildlife, Pakistan needed an extensive network of
well-maintained reserves and that this network should include
samples of all the various habitats and their associated fauna,
including predators such as wolves and leopards. The Wildlife
Inquiry Committee completed its work in October 1970 and
recommended the establishment of 46 wildlife sanctuaries . These
would be devoted to preservation of flora and fauna in its
natural state and entrance and other activities would be
controlled by permit. Forestry practices were prohibited, as
were the collection of grass, firewood, building materials. Five
Game Reserves were established and hunting was to be controlled
by a special permit system.
Summary of Protected Areas in Pakistan (based on NCCW data)
||Total Area Conserved
||% of Total Land Area
|Azad Jammu Kashmir
a. One of
the Wildlife Sanctuary in Balochistan has been redesignated as
Game Reserve in 1998.
b. Two of the Wildlife Sancturies in Northern Areas have been
redesignated as Controlled Hunting Areas in October 1998
The first national park, Lal Suhanra, was formally declared in
the Bahawalpur district of Punjab in 1972. The park consists of
irrigated forest plantations (20,974 acres), desert branch pond
(4780 acres) and Cholistan Desert (51726 acres) for a total of
77480 acres. The park was established to protect existing
wildlife and vegetation; reintroduce extirpated species;
rehabilitate wildlife habitat; create education/research
facilities for local and foreign
tourists, and recreational facilities for the local population.
Kirthar National Park achieved its protected status in 1973.
Established in the Dadu district of Sindh, this 466,000 acre
reserve provides protection for a fine herd of ibex about 60
miles north of Karachi. Other large game species such as Indian
gazelle and urial sheep have increased their populations within
the park. A management plan has been drawn up for the park with
the assistance of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). However,
fiscal restraints and other priorities have largely precluded
full implementation of the plan.
Khunjerab in northern Hunza, Gilgit Agency, became the third
national park in 1975. This area has been successful in
providing protection for the Marco Polo's sheep, blue sheep,
snow leopard, snowcock, snow partridge and other high mountain
National parks in Pakistan have apparently been established
primarily for wildlife and not necessarily for their historic or
scenic features. Their administration is handled by the
provincial wildlife departments.
So far, 15 national parks have been declared as follows:
NAME OF THE NATIONAL PARK AREA (ha) Year of declaration
Ayubia 1,684 1984
Chinji 6,095 1987
Chitral Gol 7,750 1974
Hazarganji-Chiltan 15,555 1980
Hingol 165,004 1997
Khunjerab 226,913 1975
Kirthar 308,733 1974
Lal Sohanra 37,426 1972
Margalla Hills 17,426 1980
Central Karakorum 13,90,100 1995
Kandrap Shandur 51,200 1993
Deosai Plains 3,58,400 1993
Sheikh Buddin 15,554 1993
Machiara 13,532 1980
Total 37,67,518 Ha
(Source: WWF-Pakistan and MELGRD)
classification system follows the IUCN Protected Area
Classification (I-VI) as given below:
IUCN PROTECTED AREAS
I. Strict Nature Reserve/Wilderness Area: Areas of land
and/or sea possessing outstanding or representative ecosystems,
geological physiological features and/or species, available
primarily for scientific research and/or environmental
monitoring; or large areas of unmodified or slightly modified
land, and/or sea, retaining their natural character and
influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which
are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural
II. National Park: Protected Areas Managed Mainly for
Ecosystem Conservation and Recreation. Natural areas of land
and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity
of one or more ecosystems for this and future generations, (b)
exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of
designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for
spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor
opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and
III. Natural Monument: Protected Areas Managed Mainly for
Conservation of Special Features. Areas containing one or more
specific natural or natural/ cultural features which is of
outstanding or unique value because of its inherent rarity,
representative or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance.
IV. Habitat/Species Management Area: Protected Areas Managed
Mainly for Conservation through Management Intervention. Areas
of land and/ or sea subject to active intervention for
management purposes to ensure the maintenance of habitats and/
or to meet the requirements of specific species.
V. Protected Landscape / Seascape: Protected Areas Managed
Mainly for Landscape/ Seascape conservation and recreation.
Areas of land, with coast and sea as appropriate, where the
impaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of
distinct character with significant aesthetic, cultural and/ or
ecological value, and often with high biological diversity.
Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is
vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an
VI. Managed Resource Protected Area Protected Areas Managed
Mainly for the Sustainable Use of Natural Ecosystems. Areas
containing predominantly unmodified natural systems managed to
ensure long-term protection and maintenance of biological
diversity, while providing at the same time a sustainable flow
of natural products and services to meet communituy needs.
Source: IUCN, 1994. Guidelines for Protected Area Management
addition to the above mentioned 14 national parks, the
provincial governments have listed 99 wildlife sanctuaries
(Punjab - 19, Sindh - 35, Northwest Frontier - 6, Balochistan -
15, Northern Areas - 5).
addition, 96 other areas have been designated as game reserves
and these govern an additional 4407 square miles of terrain,
(Punjab - 19 areas, Sindh - 14 areas, Northwest Frontier - 38
areas, Balochistan - 7 areas, Northern Areas - 9 sites and AJK -
of the areas were created to provide habitat protection for
animal species commonly referred to as game (huntable species
for sport or meat). Providing protection for these species also
offered a measure of security for many lesser known plant
species and smaller animal species. Thus, the Government of
Pakistan has created a parks and reserves system governing about
9.1 million ha (10.40% of total land area). Although extensive,
only a fraction of the network is protected. Game reserves, in
particular, which are often in private land, receive minimal
protection due to the lack of legal provisions to control land
use. Wildlife sanctuaries enjoy better protection, but in
practice, legal restrictions are seldom enforced other than to
prevent hunting. Most sanctuaries have been designated in
reserve forests of commercial value where timber and minor
forest products are harvested. Enforcement is better in the
national parks. Protected areas have been created haphazardly,
often in the absence of any criteria for their selection, and
the boundaries drawn with little or no ecological basis. The
protected areas system is under review to incorporate a new
category of protected areas viz. biodiversity conservation.
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Wildlife of Pakistan-All Rights Reserved.