Surrounded by coniferous forests with deodar trees and located along the Line of Control (LoC), Kazinag National Park in the Limber area of ​​Boniyar sector in northern Kashmir is home to the Markhors (helical horned goat).

Being a national animal of Pakistan, there are no boundaries for Markhors to come to this part of LoC or to cross to the other side.

“Due to its geographic distribution and landscape, the animal is also found in the Pir Panchal Range and Kazinag National Park. There are no borders for them. They keep coming this way and the other to breed, ”says Dr Reyaz Ahmad, Wildlife Trust of India coordinator for Kashmir.

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However, Dr Reyaz believes Markhors’ movement may have diminished due to the change in the situation along the LoC. “As there were fences and strong vigilance at the borders, this may have affected the free movement of Markhors,” he says.

The breeding season of Markhors begins from November 1 to mid-January while the offspring start producing from May. “It’s also a good time to see the Markhors descending from higher altitudes,” he said.

The number has also increased

Reyaz said that with a curb on poaching of the animal, the number of Markhors has also increased in the park in recent years. “In the survey two years ago the number was 200 and about eight years ago the number was 150. It’s a huge difference,” says Reyaz, who has conducted research on the Markhors. in the valley.

Markhors in Kashmir
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He credits the local Wildlife Department with frequent checks to stop poaching of the animal. “In 2008, when I started researching the topic, I discovered that people hunt them during the snow because they believed that no one would come to the place because the area lacked road connectivity. I myself have seen blood on the snow, ”he said.

A Department of Wildlife official stationed in the area said controls had been tightened in the forest area. “In 2009, we arrested a man in the forests of Lachipora who had poached a Markhor and a case was filed against him later. Nothing like that is happening now, ”he said.

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Kashmir Regional Wildlife Manager Rashid Naqash said it is one of the richest parks in the valley. “It is visited by nature lovers, travelers, hikers, schoolchildren and NGOs,” he said, adding, “We always make them easy.

Destined to save Markhors

Dr Reyaz said he only wanted to save the animal through his research. “I think the Department of Wildlife needs to employ more people who can regularly visit these forest areas for the intensified checks in order to save the Markhors before they disappear,” he said.

Other species found in the park

Range Officer Wildlife Department Baramulla Altaf Koul said that various species of mammals and birds are found in this national park. “About 20 species of mammals, some rare, threatened and endangered, are found in the park and the main animal species observed are the Himalayan musk deer (Moschus Crysoater), the brown bear of the ‘Himalayan (Ursus artos), Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and common leopard (Panthera pardus), Yellow-throated Martin (Martes flavigula), Himalayan Marmot (Marmota caudate) and Little squirrel Kashmiri fly (Eoglaucomys fimbriatus), ”he said.

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He said: “The park is home to around 120 species of birds representing around 36 families, including the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Impeyan or the monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus), the Koklas pheasant (Catreus wallichii), hawk (Accipiter nisus melaschistos), Snow Pigeon (Columba leuconota), Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), American Kingfisher (Ceryle lugubris), American Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), Nutcracker ( Nucifraga Caryocatactes), Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), Long-tailed Minvetus (Flame Pericrocotus) Sooty Flycatcher (Muscicapa lineatus), Kashmiri Red-breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa Superciliari), ”he said, adding that he also counts seventeen species of butterflies, including the Royal Apollo (Parnassius charltonius), the Common Blue Apollo (Parnassius hardvricket), the Common Red Apollo (Parnassius epaphus), Brown Argus (Dallacha hyagriva), Mountain Argus (Callerebia hyagriva) ), Meadow Brown (Maniola pulchara), Banded Satyr narrow (Aulocera brhamnius), Large shell turtle (Nympalis xanthomelas) etc.

Peace pact to save Markhors

Reyaz said they plan to make a peace pact between two nations in order to save them. “We are planning to make a peace pact with Pakistan in order to save the animal whether it is injured or killed as a result of the cross-border bombing,” he said.

About Kazinag National Park

Markhors in Kashmir
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It is located about 70 kilometers from Srinagar. The park came into being after three wildlife sanctuaries – Limber, Lachipora and Naganari were clubbed with support from the Wildlife Trust of India in 2007. This park has the potential to become one of the largest national parks in the country because it covers more than 160 km².

“The Markhors sighting is done in the Kandi Nallah, Dragan, Kothnal and Hokhian regions in the upper part of Baba Gayil,” said Fayaz Ahmad Dar, a local guide. Indetimes.


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