Khunjerab National Park

A spectacular habitat on top of the world

What and where?
Khunjerab National Park is in the Northern areas of Pakistan. Covering around 2,270 sq km, it is one of the highest altitude parks in the world. The Khunjerab National Park is Pakistan's 3rd largest National Park and is adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve (1,400,000 hectares) in China.

Over half of the park is above 4,000 metres. Khunjerab Pass, the gateway to China via the Karakoram Highway, is at 4,934 metres. It consists of 3 different valleys: Khunjerab (through which the Karakoram Highway passes), Ghujerab and the remote Shimshal valley. The park includes the world’s highest border crossing at 4,700 metres.

Khunjerab National Park provides the habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species like the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, and Himalayan ibex. It is thought that the highest density of these beautiful cats may reside here. Over 2,000 Siberian ibex, widely distributed and abundant in the park but absent from neighbouring China are also present here.

It is also one of the most important alpine biodiversity regions within Pakistan. WWF-Pakistan has a management plan to protect the alpine flora in Khunjerab National Park that will on focus on community-based conservation with a strong element of raising environmental awareness. The aim is to control grazing, and increase the population of snow leopards, Marco Polo and blue sheep.

Why?
The Khunjerab National Park has the potential to develop into one of the world's foremost national parks. According to WWF officials, a plan is now afoot to turn it into an 'International Peace Park' with conserved areas on both sides of the border. Negotiations with the Chinese are underway. If this plan can be realized, it would mean one ecological park with open boundaries for the wildlife.
Porter crossing river, Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan. / ©: WWF-Canon / Hartmut JUNGIUS
Porter crossing river, Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan.
© WWF-Canon / Hartmut JUNGIUS

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