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Khun-Zerav National Park

Khun-Zerav National Park

In Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan lies a National park known as Khun-zerav national park which is mistakenly known as khunjerab. The translation of khun is Blood and the word zerav means is to stream in wakhi the native language. For a long time it was mistakenly written and pronounced because in past the language was not that much developed and was a bit difficult to understood by other languages of Pakistan. This park was basically established to protect Marco Polo Sheep, Snow Leopards and Bharal in this area. In 1974, Schaller after a survey mapped the borders of the park who was the Wild Life biologist. On 29th April 1979, The Park was formally inaugurated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the Prime Minister of Pakistan. It is recognized as the third largest National Park of Pakistan.


Khunzerav is neighboring to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve in China. The main purpose of its commencement was to give protection to the endangered Marco Polo Sheep as it is only found in this area of Pakistan. According to the Mir of Hunza, before the completion of Karakorum Highway the population was about 400 which have now dropped to 180. In 1984, a herd of almost 75 Marco Polo Sheep was recorded in spring and almost about 50 staff members were present.


Snow leopards found here is also the reason of its popularity and it is said that this area contains the highest density of these magnificent cats. Numerous variety of mammals are present here which includes Snow Leopard, Marco Polo Sheep, Ermine, Brown Bear, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan Ibex, Cape Hare, Common Field Mouse, Blue Sheep, Tibetan red fox, Tibetan wild ass or Kiang, Golden Marmot, Stone Martin, Alpine weasel, Lynx, Dhole, Large-eared Pika, Royle’s mountain vole, Migratory hamster and Lesser shrew.


Like mammals Khunzerav have numerous varieties of birds among these 66 common species of birds are found here which includes Golden Eagle, Saker falcon, Hill pigeon, Northern Eagle owl, Eurasian cuckoo, Lammegier vulture, Marsh harrier, Himalayan snow cock, Himalayan griffon vulture, Eurasian sparrow hawk, Lesser kestrel, Eurasian black vulture, Snow partridge, Magpie, Grey heron, Hill pigeon, Raven, Common sand piper, Common swallow, Alpine cough, Chukar, Eurasian kestrel, Peregrine falcon and snow pigeon. These all mammals and birds collectively enhance the beauty of the park and make it different from other national parks of our country. It is a must visit place, one should visit it.


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