Written by Syed Mujahid Ali Shah, by email
15 August 2010 The recent heavy rains in northern mountainous belts of Pakistan are hardly going to spare wild fauna from devastating their habitats as that of human population.
Among all such animals, the most concerned specie is snow leopard. They are already threatened being left only a few hundreds in these mountain ranges due to ongoing prey depletion of theirs following dry conditions caused by ever increasing temperature trends. But a wet calamity of heavy rains during recent weeks anticipates a new threat.
The unusual heavy summer rainfall situations are opposite to that of normal weather conditions of snow leopard habitats in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges of Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral. This drastic change in climate can create vegetation rich landscape situation where snow leopards and its prey species cannot live.
As the ideal habitat of these animals is open semi desert rocky mountains—out of dense vegetations like those of Chilghoza pine near nival zones of Himalayas and Karakoram. On the other hand huge rainfall situations, as some recently recorded 100 mm/h in Baltistan and Ladakh regions, being semi desert rocky hills, they are easily eroded and lose most of the soil. What leaves behind may be just rock, unable to produce enough fodder for the species of Markhor, ibex, Marcopolo sheep and the musk deer on which snow leopards thrive. Isn’t the world becoming so unsafe for both human and animals from carbon emissions in bulk? If timely steps were not taken to cut the greenhouse gases by the industrialised nations, such species would just wither away.