Establishing National Park is must to save Karoonjhar - Sindh Courier-1

Establishing National Park is must to save Karoonjhar

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Establishing National Park is must to save Karoonjhar - Sindh Courier-1Things may not improve until Nagarparkar and its adjoining areas, including Karoonjhar hills, Jian temples, Bhodesar Masjid and other cultural sites are declared a national park. A national park has the highest level of wildlife protection status and this will attract eco-tourists.

By Ali Nawaz Rahimoo

Tharparkar district is rich in wildlife and almost all its areas including Nagarparkar fall in the wildlife sanctuary category of Sindh Wildlife Law but unfortunately, illegal hunting is common, which has been affecting the biodiversity of the area.

Things may not improve until Nagarparkar and its adjoining areas, including Karoonjhar hills, Jian temples, Bhodesar Masjid and other cultural sites are declared a national park. A national park has the highest level of wildlife protection status and this will attract eco-tourists.

Establishing National Park is must to save Karoonjhar - Sindh Courier-2Deforestation and hunting have been harming the ecology of the area and ruining the natural beauty of the Thar Desert and Karoonjhar hills. The livelihood of people of Thar is also under threat, for they depend on its natural resources for survival.

The rate of environmental degradation can be ascertained from figures provided by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the ministry of environment. In 1996, the IUCN declared 25 wildlife species on the ‘red list’ of threatened animals. The number has now increased drastically. Similarly, in 2010, the ministry of environment and UNDP declared seven arid zone plants as ‘rare species’ of which five are native to Tharparkar.

Establishing National Park is must to save Karoonjhar - Sindh Courier-3There are 154 rare species of plants, 26 species of rare mammals and 400 various types of flowers found in Karoonjhar hills and surrounding areas. A large number of people visit the area, especially during the monsoon season.

If the area is declared a national park and given funds, there will be enormous opportunities for tourism and sustainable growth. The desert is also rich in flora and fauna of both medicinal and commercial value.

There has been no decline in hunting and people come to trap falcons and hunt the endangered Houbara bastard. According to Manzoor Hassan Bhatti, General Sectary of Association for Water Applied Education and Renewable Energy, in Nagarparkar tehsil of Tharparkar, one of the Ramsar (UN convention) sites, there is unlawful activity of extracting resin (gum) from Gugral trees of Tharparkar by chemical industry.

In Pakistan, Gugral is found in Sindh and Baluchistan, particularly in Tharparkar. This resin is sold at Rs.25000 to Rs.30000 per 40kg and used in pharmaceutical industry and perfume purposes.

The authorities concerned should take action to save the wildlife, flora and fauna of Karoonjhar hills.

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Ali Nawaz Rahimoo is Umerkot-based writer

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