Wetlands of Pakistan

Pakistan is one of the God gifted countries which abounds in natural resources, beautiful and eye catching. Beside snow covered mountains, green plains, deserts, lakes and the coast line, Pakistan also has an estimated 780,000 ha of wetlands that cover 9.7% of the total surface area of the Pakistan. In excess of 225 significant wetlands sites are on record in the prototype Pakistan Wetlands GIS Database – of which 19 have been internationally recognized by the Ramsar Convention Bureau as being of global importance. The diverse assortment of natural freshwater and marine wetlands that occur within Pakistan support unique combinations of biodiversity. Pakistan’s permanent and ephemeral wetlands are globally significant in terms of the intrinsic value of their indigenous biodiversity.

The high global significance of Pakistan’s wetlands is attributable to the diversity of species that they support. In all, eighteen threatened species of wetlands dependent mammals are found here including the endemic Punjab Urial (Ovis vignei punjabiensis) and Indus River Dolphin (Plantanista minor), besides twenty threatened bird species and twelve reptiles and two endemic species of amphibians. Pakistan’s wetlands also support between 191-198 indigenous freshwater fish species, including fifteen endemics and a total of 788 marine and estuarine fish species. The high altitude wetlands, characterized by sites such as Karumbar Lake, situated at an elevation of 4,150m, and Saucher Lake, at 4,250m on the Deosai Plains, represent a relatively unique category of alpine wetlands that is confined to the Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram mountain cordilleras.

Some of the spectacular wetlands, beside being of scientific and technical reasons, include Ratti Gali Lake, Baghsar Lake, River Neelum, Astola (Haft Talar) Island, Zhob River, Deosai Plateau, Kachura Lake, Rama Lake, Satpara Lake, Maho Dhand, Head Islam, Ucchali Lake, Khinjar (Kalri) Lake and many more.

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By The Pen Of Syed Muhammad Zahid
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