8 Endangered Species in Pakistan We Might Loss in the Coming Years

Endangered species in pakistan

Pakistan is a natural marvel with an overwhelming variety of birds, animals, plants, and landscapes, but multiple factors threaten its beauty. 

Overpopulation and unmonitored human activities are affecting many animal species. Many animals are either endangered, vulnerable, or nearly extinct. 

What are Endangered animals/species? 

Endangered animals or species have a significant risk of extinction due to declining numbers, loss of habitat, and many other factors. 

In this article, we bring you a list of Endangered Species in Pakistan, where these animals are found, and why they are endangered. 

Endangered Species in Pakistan

Below are 8 Endangered animals in Pakistan according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, short for IUCN. 

  1. Markhor – National Animal of Pakistan 
  2. Snow Leopard 
  3. Asian Leopard
  4. Marco Polo Sheep 
  5. Asian Black Bear
  6. Indus River Dolphin
  7. Black Finless Porpoise
  8. Golden Mahseer

Now let’s explore each animal, its home, and why it is endangered. 

1. Markhor – National Animal of Pakistan

markhor

The name Markhor comes from the Persian language, meaning “snake eater.”. It is a large goat native to the Karakoram, the Himalayas, and Central Asia. 

Markhors hold the title of the National Animal of Pakistan but are unfortunately listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) list of endangered animals.  

Why are Markhors endangered? 

The major reasons why markhors are endangered include:

  • Habitat loss
  • Overhunting for meat and trophies
  • Competition from livestock etc. 

Where are Markhors found in Pakistan? 

In Pakistan, you will find markhors in small areas in the Baluchistan province, KPK, and Dera Ghazi Khan District (Punjab). 

There are two markhor species found in Pakistan: Flared Horned Markhor and Screw Horned Markhor. 

2. Snow Leopard 

Snow Leopard 

Found in Central and South Asia, Snow leopards are listed as Vulnerable according to the IUCN (Red List). 

With a global population of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, they are expected to decline by 10% by 2040. 

Why are Snow leopards endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Poaching
  • Competition with other animals for prey
  • Illegal killing 
  • Trophy Hunting
  • Conflict with humans (snow leopards often attack livestock)
  • Environmental factors 
  • Lack of research

Where are Snow leopards found in Pakistan?

In Pakistan, snow leopards are found in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. 

3. Asian Leopard

Asian Leopard

Asian leopards are found in the Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad (capital). They used to descend from the northern regions in winter during heavy snowfall. Now they are scattered in small locations. 

As their homes become popular tourist spots, their frequent sightings and danger to humans are becoming alarming. 

Why are Asian Leopards endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Habitat loss
  • Poaching 
  • Increasing conflict with communities
  • Climate change

Where are Asian Leopards found in Pakistan?

Asian Leopards are found in the Margalla Hills National Park, Ayubia National Park, and Galiyat.  

4. Marco Polo Sheep

Marco Polo Sheep

Found in the mountains of Central Asia, Marco Polo sheep have large horns in spiraling shapes, making them unique animals to encounter. 

Why is the Marco Polo Sheep endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Poaching
  • Habitat disturbance
  • Competition with livestock
  • Construction of a fence along the international border with China

Where is the Marco Polo Sheep found in Pakistan?

In Pakistan, they are found in the Khunjerab National Park, which borders China. 

5. Asian Black Bear

Asian Black Bear

The Asian Black Bear, as the name suggests, is native to Asia and is a medium-sized bear. They are critically endangered, with only 1,000 Asian black bears left in Pakistan.

Why are Asian Black Bears endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Killed for fur
  • Conflict with locals (black bars often attack livestock) 
  • Killed for medical purposes
  • Habitat loss
  • Lack of research

Where are Asian Black Bears found in Pakistan?

The Asiatic Black bear is found in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. 

6. Indus River Dolphin

Indus River Dolphin

According to WWF, only 2000 Indus River dolphins are left in the country. 

Historically they swam freely to about 3500 km of the Indus River system, but due to the construction of irrigation barrages; their range has been reduced by 80%. 

Why is the Indus River Dolphin endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Entanglement
  • Habitat degradation
  • Noise
  • Chemical contaminants
  • Vessel strikes.

Where are Indus River Dolphins found in Pakistan?

The Indus river dolphins are primarily found in Pakistan’s lower parts of the Indus River. 

7. Black Finless Porpoise

Black Finless Porpoise

The Black Finless Porpoise looks similar to dolphins but has smaller snouts, mouths, and bodies. 

Why are the Black Finless Porpoises endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Bycatch in unregulated and unselective fishing
  • Habitat degradation 
  • Pollution 
  • Noise
  • Vessel strikes 
  • Water development
  • Discharge of highly toxic effluents

Where are the Black Finless Porpoises found in Pakistan?

In Pakistan, the Black Finless Porpoise is commonly found throughout the coast, especially in mangroves.

8. Golden Mahseer

Golden Mahseer

The Golden Mahseer is a fish found in rapid streams, riverine pools, and lakes. Its native range is within the basins of the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra rivers.

Why is the Golden Mahseer endangered? 

The reasons include the following: 

  • Habitat loss
  • Overfishing
  • Pollution

Where is the Golden Mahseer found in Pakistan?

The Golden Mahseer is found in Swat (KPK) rivers, Panjkora, Siran, Indus, and Kunhar.

Saving the Endangered Species in Pakistan

While the above eight species and many other animals are endangered, efforts are in place by the government and international organizations to revive their population. 

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board is working on preserving Asian Leopards in the Margalla hills; Hunting of Markhor is also banned to save the national animal. 

While these efforts are slow, they are still there, giving us hope for the future of these animals in Pakistan! 

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