Already many National Parks across India have been honoured to have their names in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Now joining them soon will be the Great Himalayan National Park located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
The nomination for the prestigious status for the National Park had been sent by the Himachal Pradesh state’s wildlife and forest department to UNESCO and the same has been accepted.
The National Park will be honoured with the title next year after its evaluation by a team of international wildlife experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“ICUN”).
The topography of the Great Himalayan National Park is made up of alpine and coniferous forest, emerald pastures, snow capped peaks, steep valleys and a number of waterfalls and small streams that continue to flow throughout the year. Located at an altitude of 1500 to 6000 mm the National Park is spread over 1,171 sq kms. The park has one of the richest biodiversities in the Western Himalayas and a variety of flora, fauna and avian species can be spotted here.
The park remains snow covered for most part of the year. However here one can spot some of the many rare and endangered species such as wild mountain goats like the bharal, goral and serow, the brown bear, leopards and the elusive snow leopard, rare Nilgiri Tahr and red fox among many others. The Great Himalayan National Park also houses a large number of bird species like Monal, Koklass and Western Tragopan. Trekking in these Himalayan mountains is the best way to spot this exotic wildlife
In addition to accepting the nomination of the Great Himalayan National Park as a World Heritage Site, the nominations of three other parks and sanctuaries have also been accepted by UNESCO- the Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa, home to the largest population of giant salt water crocodiles in Asia, the Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal and the Desert National Park located in Jaisalmer in Thar Desert in Rajasthan. One can spot here the Great Indian Bustard, a magnificent but endangered bird species and a number of fossils, both plants and animals which date as old as 180 million years.
Some of the famous National Parks in India that are already listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list are Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park in Assam, Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Rajasthan, Sunderban National Park in West Bengal and Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand.
The Himachal Pradesh state government in addition to making a successful impact in the World Heritage list nominations has many other projects stated to benefit the wildlife.
The Himalayan Snow Leopard Research Centre would soon be developed near Kibbar village of Spiti valley at a cost of Rs. 5.15 crore to preserve this wild life species in their natural habitat and carry research and development programme over the same time.
The state government will also shortly start a breeding programme of the Himalayan monal, a pheasant species, near Manali. The Conservation Breeding Phesantry for Himalayan Monal will be developed near Manali by spending Rs. 2 crore in the first phase.