Snow Leopard In Chitral
The arrival of Snow Leopard in the vicinity of the villages Tooshi, and Terich valley, at the base of Roshgol valley, is an age long old phenomena where it announces its presence in December to February, on and off, as the higher parts of the hills are covered in deep snow and Snow Leopards know the route how to navigate the slopes in winters to avoid avalanche sites. It reports its arrival in the very cold season by its deep throated calls at night from certain ridges on its route, during it's up or down journey, staying at its favorite spots for some days [usually they travel in twos] and frightening children by its calls at nights. Normally they don't attack domestic animals but driven by hunger for longer period, they attack goats outside the villages. Mostly they get their food from the ibex flocks after stalking carefully. Regarding humans their behavior is very gentle.. they never attack humans even if they come across on the mountain tracks and there does not exist any such record of attack in the history of the region. The endangered snow leopard, ['purdom' in Khowar language], visits the Tooshi game reserve due to heavy snow and severe cold weather. The beautiful wild cat is normally seen in the game reserve mostly in winter as it comes there for at least four days to one week. During this time he feasts on a wild goat or two. Many local people and foreign tourists visit Tooshi to have a glimpse of the snow leopard.
Markhor in Chitral Gol National Park
Markhor are an endangered species of wild goats whose range is mostly in Chitral- Pakistan. The males have beautiful horns which are serpentile shaped and can be very impressive. Markhors are found throughout a number of areas within Northern and Western Pakistan but populations are low and localized. The only area where you are gauranteed to see Markhor is Tooshi Game Reserve in Chitral which is about 30 minutes north of Chitral town. In the late afternoon until dusk, you will see Markhor descend the slopes to drink water from the passing river. It is possible to see upto 50 here and they seem in different to the watching humans.
This playful Markhor is friendly with people and sometimes keeps on awaiting for visitors to turn up, who hold him by the screwing big horns and play on the roadside at Tooshi, where the worth of one trophy hunt is USD 52000 to 80000. In winter the illusive snow leopard is also seen in the game reserve as it comes down near the riverbank chasing wild goats and Markhor.
Ibex is found in the higher altitudes vs Markhor. In the past ibex hunting rules were strictly followed by the local hunters. Only good size male were their targets. Females and kids were left to grow and reproduce. Most valleys of Chitral were under state control. There is a wild life Deptt: of the Govt: of Pakistan tries to ensure the wild life population through its staff of wild life watchers but their efforts to control poaching is not very successful as the Number of the staff is small and the region is too large. Each year they carry out a census of the ibex population. Their habitats have been badly damaged due to over population, over grazing etc. Good size ibex are available for trophy hunting in various places of upper Chitral. Udren Gol, Atahk and Roshgol in Terich valley are famous for ibex habitats of Hindukush.
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