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Great Himalaya National Park Conservation Area – A Unique Wildlife Sanctuary

The 38th World Heritage Committee meeting held in Doha, Qatar, recognized Great Himalaya National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA) as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The meeting was held on June 23, 2014. Originally set up in 1984 with an area of 754.4 square kilometers, the National Park got its formal recognition in 1999. The Sainj and Tirthan wildlife sanctuaries which cover 90 and 61 square kilometers respectively were also made a part of GHNPCA in 1994. Today, the Great Himalaya National Park Conservation Area is spread around 905.4 square kilometers. This beautiful landscape is comprised of rivers that emanate out of melting snow and glaciers that form the basis for millions that depend on them. There are several rivers of this kind in the National Park.

Historical Sites GHNPCA is the Seat of Natural Wealth and Home to Endangered SpeciesThe number of floral species that the GreatHimalayanNational Park plays host to is unmatched. This also includes several rare medicinal plants only found in this region. Overall, there are more than 375 species of reptiles, mammals, insects, birds and amphibians. Since these are protected under the strict rules of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, hunting is completely prohibited. This has kept the natural food chain intact paving way for flourishing of the animal population. When UNESCO recognized GHNPCA as a World Heritage site the reason cited was that it is “One of the world’s most important and significant natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity, containing threatened species of outstanding universal value.”

Recognition as World Heritage Site brings Hope to Endangered AnimalsIf you thought snow leopard was a species that no longer exists, think again. They are found in this National Park. Not just that, rare and highly endangered animals like Asiatic black bear, Himalayan Musk Deer, blue sheep, Himalayan Thar, and Serow are found here. Apart from these beautiful animals, birds like chir pheasant and western tragopan that are globally in the brink of extinction are still found here. It is hoped that the tag of being a World Heritage Site will draw more attention to dwindling population of rare species of animals.

Inside Great Himalaya National Park Conservation AreaFor one, there is no provision for taking vehicles inside the Park as there are no motorable roads. This hugely limits the number of people venturing into the area. In fact, it sees only about a thousand trekkers annually. Even then, the activity is highly regulated and one must seek permission and guidance from the authorities to undertake such activities. There is a buffer zone within the park which encourages moderate trekking and cultural tourism. While these activities have no adverse effect on the wildlife, they offer encouragement to the local tourist industry and has given rise to participation of the local community in joint management that aids in conservatory efforts aimed at Great Himalaya National Park Conservation Area