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Wildlife Of Pakistan

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The wildlife of Pakistan comprises a diverse flora and fauna in a wide range of habitats from sea level to high elevation areas in the mountains, including 177 mammal and 660 bird species.This diverse composition of the country's fauna is associated with its location in the transitional zone between two major zoogeographical regions, the Palearctic, and the Oriental.

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INDUS RIVER DOLPHINS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES:

The Indus River dolphin, locally known as bhulan is an obligate freshwater cetacean species found in the Indus River, Pakistan. A flagship species, this dolphin is an indicator of the biological health of the aquatic and terrestrial environment adjoining the Indus River. It is the second most endangered freshwater dolphin species in the world. The current distribution range of the Indus River dolphin is about a 1,000 km stretch of the Indus River which includes the main Indus channel and active channels connected to it between Jinnah and Kotri barrages.The existing population of Indus River dolphin is about 1,800 dolphins found between Chashma and Kotri barrages in the Indus River.The Indus River dolphin was distributed in a wide range, once found in the Indus River and in its major tributaries in Punjab's Sutlej River, Chenab River, Ravi River and Jhelum River, but is now confined to the main channel of the Indus River. Water regulatory barrages constructed on the Indus River are responsible for the highly fragmented population of Indus River dolphins confining it into five sub-populations.WWF-Pakistan is protecting and conserving the Indus River dolphin, through a community based conservation approach.

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SNOW LEOPARD AN ENDANGERED SPECIES IN PAKISTAN:

Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is a keystone species, typically found at an elevation of 3,000-4,000m. They are the icons and vital components of the biologically rich yet often neglected alpine ecosystems of Central and South Asia. The species is often found in open coniferous forests and high altitude pastures. However, given the rapid degradation of its habitat, the species has an estimated global population of less than 2,500 mature breeding males. Thereby, the snow leopard has been categorized as an endangered species.Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base colour varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish under parts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in colour.Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is important in the rocky terrain they inhabit. Their tails are also very thick due for storage of fat and are very thickly covered with fur which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.In summer it lives above tree line, on mountainous meadows and rocky areas i.e.; (2700 to 6000m ASL) while in winter descends down to an altitude of around 2000m a.s.l.The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) habitat is currently restricted to Asia in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan,Uzbekistan, and possibly also to Myanmar. PIts geographic distribution runs from the Hindu Kush in eastern Afghanistan and the Syr Darya through the mountains of Pamir, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Punjal / Kashmir, Kunlun, and the Himalaya to southern Siberia, where the range covers the Russian Altai mountains, Sayan, Tannu-Ola mountains and the mountains to the west of Lake Baikal. In Mongolia, it is found in the Mongolian and Gobi Altai and the Khangai Mountains. In Tibet, it is found up to the Altyn-Tagh in the north. In Pakistan, over 81'000 sq km area in Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges of Himalayas is potential habitat of the snow leopard, with an approximate population of 400-450 animals mostly concentrated in the upper reaches of Gilgit-Baltistan (> 60%) and Chitral.In summer it lives above tree line, on mountainous meadows and rocky areas while in winter descends down to an altitude. The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) habitat is currently restricted to Asia in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan,Uzbekistan, and possibly also to Myanmar.

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SHARK AN ENDANGERED SPECIES IN PAKISTAN:

Sharks are considered to be apex predators in the marine food chain, and are considered to be of immense importance because of their role in the ecological balance of coastal and offshore ecosystems. Sharks inclusive of sawfishes, rays and skates belongs to subclass elasmobranches which are characterized to have cartilage (lack true bones) as skeletal block, slow reproduction, predatory nature and have gill slits instead of gill cover.

Sharks (inclusive of rays and guitar fishes) are represented by 134 species in Pakistan including large sharks such as mako, tiger shark, bull-shark and large mantas.The biggest threat to sharks is its over exploitation in the gillnet fisheries. There is a high amount of by-catch of sharks in the gillnet fleets and in trawling.WWF-Pakistan has initiated projects related to the assessment of shark fisheries, focusing on monitoring and assessment of shark catch, landing and trade; funded by the Scientific Committee (2008 to 2010). We can create awareness, train the government and other staff working on cetaceans, engage media and motivate students to conduct research on these species.

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