Thursday, December 22, 2011

India's Great Himalayan National Park Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

The view of Great Himalayan National Park in the morning

It has been recently reported that the Great Himalayan National Park in India's state of Himachal Pradesh has been named in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The nomination for this prestigious status had been sent by the state's wildlife and forest department to the UNESCO, and the same has been accepted. The Great Himalayan National Park will be honored with the title next year after its evaluation by a team of international experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition to the Great Himalayan National Park, three other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have also been nominated by the UNESCO. These include the Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa, which is renowned to have the largest population of saltwater crocodiles in Asia. Others include West Bengal's Neora Valley National Park and the Desert National Park of Rajasthan, which is well-known for containing fossils of plants and animals dating back as early as 180 million years. Some other national parks that are already UNESCO World Heritage Sites are Assam's Kaziranga and Manas National Parks, Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Rajasthan, Sunderbans National Park of West Bengal, and Uttarakhand's Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks.
The Himalayan monal pheasant is one of many species of animals at home in the national park.

I'm extremely happy to see that the Great Himalayan National Park has been honored, becoming the third national park in the Himalayas to be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The national park is truly well-known for its natural beauty consisting of both alpine and coniferous forests, emerald-green pastures, snow-covered mountains, steep valleys, and a number of waterfalls and streams. Located at an altitude of 1500 to 6000 mm and covering an area of 1,171 square kilometers, it has one of the richest biodiversities in the western Himalayas. Some of the notable mountain-dwelling wildlife includes bharal, the so-called blue sheep, along with the Himalayan goral, serow, and tahr. There are also powerful predators in this heavenly oasis, like the Himalayan brown bear, the Indian leopard, and the elusive snow leopard. Among the bird life, the most notably spectacular are the pheasants. These include the species such as the Himalayan monal, koklass pheasant, and the western tragopan. With such abundance of wildlife, the state government of Himachal Pradesh has conducted many projects for its benefit. It has been reported that the Himalayan Snow Leopard Research Center will soon be established near the Kibbar village in Spiti Valley to preserve the species in its natural habitat, along with conducting research and development program over the same time. There is even a plan to start a breeding program for the monal pheasant near the hill station of Manali. Overall, I have full faith that this national park will be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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