Khunjerab National Park is spread across an area of 2, 27,143 ha, and at an elevation of 17,000 ft within the Karakorum-West Tibetan biodiversity region, amidst the Karakorum Range Mountains on Pakistan-China border in Upper Hunza. The National Park is home to alpine flora along with many endangered and threatened species and boasts to be the 3rd largest national park in Pakistan.
Wildlife: Snow leopard (Threatened), Marco polo Sheep (Endangered), Himalayan Ibex, Blue Sheep, Siberian Ibex, Brown Bear (Threatened), Blue Sheep (Vulnerable)
66 Species of birds found: Golden Eagle, Himalayan Snowcock, Himalayan Griffon vulture (Near Threatened)
The natural haven lies across an area of 3, 58,400 ha in the South-east of Skardu in the Karakorum range, bordering India. At an elevation of 13,500ft above the sea-level, the Deosai plains boats of being one of the highest plateaus in the world, and be accessed from Skardu in the west and Astore Valley in the north.
Wildlife: The plains are one of the last frontiers for the natural habitat for the Himalayan Brown Bear, which is categorized as threatened as of current statistics. Ibex, Red Fox, Golden Marmot, Ladakh Urial, Snow Leopard (Threatened), Himalayan Musk Deer (Vulnerable), are also found to reside in the mighty plain although most are either threatened or endangered.
Deosai served as an important trade route between Kashmir and Gilgit, and in the pre-partition era, it served as an area where most of the tribal conflicts were resolved. Wars were fought in Deosai plains by warriors such as the Dogras, local tribes and the Turks (Khan, 1962). Its geographic location makes it an important territory from strategic point of view, as it is close to the Line of Control (LoC) with India, in the Indian held Kashmir.
The Government of the Gilgit-Baltistan, declared Deosai as National Park on May 14, 1993, spreading over an area of approximately 3626 Sq. Km. According to IUCN protected area categories, Deosai is a category I National Park, for the protection and conservation of endemic species of Himalayan Brown Bear.
CKNP is the largest protected area of Pakistan spread across an area of 10, 557, 73 km2 (9, 73,845 ha) in the Central Karakorum mountain range and boasts of containing the world’s largest glaciers outside the Polar Regions, along with being the highest National Park in the world. It falls into 04 administrative districts of the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Wildlife: the threatened species that seek refuge in the grandeur of the vicinity include Snow Leopard, Markhor, Musk Deer, Urial, and Marcopolo sheep along with the flag species including Blue Sheep, Ibex, Lynx, and Wolf. Also, approximately 90 species of birds are found here.
Over-hunting, habitat loss and isolation of small populations have probably been the main reasons for the bringing the numbers of ‘Snow Leopard’ and ‘Markhor’ close to their biological threshold.
Other major attractions: One of the most tectonically-active locations in the world and Biafo, Hisper, Baltoro, and Chogo Lungma make up complex glacial systems in the vicinity. K2, world’s second highest mountain is located in the Central Karakorum Range.