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Factors disturbing the wildlife of Chitral

Chitral Gol that is declared a national park is facing some serious threats with the increase in population and lack of proper infrastructure and plan on behalf of government organisations designated for the protection of wildlife in the area.

Chitral Gol National Park is a small jungle that lies inside a small gorge of Chitral Gol stream which is surrounded by mountains covered with oak, pine and other wild trees. There are different animals in the jungle including the famous mountain goat Markhor that is the hall mark of Pakistan.

Two serious problems rather threats to wildlife in Chitral have started to appear unnoticed, gradual and time related. First and most serious is that of humans i-e traffic of visitors in the jungle. The population of Chitral town has increased many a folds as well as that of vehicles in the area in two decades.

A road up to the immediate summit of the adjoining mountain Birmoghlasht used to exist since a century that was in the use of the ruler of the area and his concerned staff but later this road has been prolonged to that of the Government visitors hut made right in the heart of the Chitral Gol wildlife sanctuary.

There is no check on anyone to visit that hut in his car, wagon or bike throughout the year and a ring of vehicles are seen climbing on the mountain and down all the day long and especially on holidays that hut in jungle becomes a family park. Hooligans of the town make holes in their bike silencers and their bikes make loud noises in the jungle who are never checked by anyone and some groups are seen visiting on evenings even up to daily basis.

Elders say that there used to be many more species of animals in the jungle e.g Lynx, Hyenas, wild sheep etc that have become extinct and some have decreased to scarce level because of this daily routine traffic. The traffic of humans and machines has compelled the animals to flee to some other lands.

A man who lives near the road told me that once I was working on the ground before my home, in the span of 6 hours I counted 217 cars and trucks and 165 bikes that climbed to the mountain into the National Park jungle.

Second problem is that of the wild dogs. In last two decades wandering street dogs have made their entrance into the jungle and that have turned into wild dogs. These dogs move in the jungle in groups and time to time attack wild animals. At night these dogs climb down to towns in search of food and their barking and howling is heart throughout the night

Now the matter is to how tackle the problem? Some discipline should be conducted and a certain spot (preferably Birmoghlasht) should be marked for everyone irrelevant of grandeur and organisation to stop his vehicle. One may lead further on foot. As for the problem of wild dogs is concerned veterans may consider better how to wipe them out.

Nargis Jabeen
Lower Balach Village
Chitral Town.

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