Wildlife Resources in Balochistan

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Balochistan is situated in the southwest of Pakistan and covers an area of 347,190 square kilometers (134,050 sq mi; 34,719,000 hectares). It is Pakistan’s largest province by area, constituting 44% of the country’s total land mass; but the smallest population, being home to less than 5% of its population. Balochistan province is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, the Arabian Sea to the south, Punjab and Sindh to the east, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the north-east. Quetta is the capital and largest city of Balochistan.

Pakistan is signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Target-11) of CBD, Pakistan is obliged to declare, by 2020, at least 17 percent of territorial and inland water and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas under protected areas (national park, wildlife sanctuary or game reserve, etc.) system. Further Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by UN General Assembly in September 2015 also call for conservation and sustainable use of the forests, wildlife habitats, oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development under its Goal 14 & 15.

At the national level, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan formulated by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) specifies actions for expanding of network of protected areas in the country with complete representation of ecosystems and habitats especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity.

Wildlife Resources in Balochistan

Wildlife Map of Balochistan - forestrypedia
Wildlife Map of Balochistan – forestrypedia

By virtue of its large area, sparse human population and diverse landscape, Balochistan province has the potential of wildernesses for a diverse flora and fauna. The diverse climatic zones have contributed to a set of ecological zones resulting in unique faunal and floral biodiversity; the documented status of species richness in Balochistan is given in the following table:

 Particulars No of Species in Balochistan No of Species in Pakistan Endemic Species in Balochistan
Mammals 71 174 2
Birds 356 668 0
Reptiles 94 177 7
Amphibians 8 20 0
Freshwater fish 61 198 8
Total Known species of Higher plants 1500 5721

Important Wild Mammals of Balochistan

  • Suleiman Markhor
  • Wild Cat
  • Chiltan Markhor (Wild goat)
  • Common Leopard
  • Sindh Ibex
  • Asiatic Jackal
  • Afghan Urial
  • Hyena
  • Chinkara Gazelle
  • Wolf
  • Black Bear
  • Honey Badger

Important Bird Species of Balochistan

  • Houbara bustard
  • Golden eagle
  • Cranes sp.
  • Falcon ( covers a big range of Species)
  • Chucker partridge/Rock partridge
  • Finches
  • See-see partridge
  • Magpie
  • Black partridge
  • A variety of waterfowls
  • Grey partridge  

Important Reptiles of Balochistan

  • Turkistan rock Gecko (uncommon)
  • Reticulate desert lacerta (uncommon and endemic)
  • Sharp-tailed spider Gecko ( Rare and endemic)
  • Caspian desert lacerta ( Rare)
  • Lumsdeni Gecko  ( very rare and endemic)
  • Chagai desert lacerta (Endemic)
  • Whip-tailed sand Gecko ( Endemic)
  • Dark headed dwarf racer (Rare)
  • Baloch spiny-tailed lizard ( Rare)
  • Tartary sand Boa (Rare)
  • Mountain Dwarf Gecko ( Rare)
  • Spotted desert racer ( Rare)
  • Short-toed sand swimmer ( Extremely rare)
  • Dark headed gamma snake (Rare)
  • Eastern Dwarf skink ( Rare)
  • Maynard’s awl-headed snake (Rare and endemic)
  • Indian desert Monitor (Endangered)        

Protected Areas of Balochistan

The Balochistan province has unique biological diversity. Some of these Species are endemic to the province and found nowhere else in Pakistan and, in some cases, in the whole world.

Protected Areas of Balochistan - forestrypedia
Protected Areas of Balochistan – forestrypedia

The Balochistan Forests and Wildlife Department, at present, is managing following notified PAs:

  • One (01) Biosphere Reserves
  • Three (03) National Parks
  • Fourteen (14) Wildlife Sanctuaries
  • Eight (08) Game Reserves
  • Five (05) RAMSAR sites
  • Four (04) Community Game Reserves
  • One (01) Co-management Area (Takatu State Forest & Zawar Kan Game Reserve)
  • One (01) Marine Protected Area (Astola MPA)

These are covering a total area of about 2.192 million hectares. This represents about 6.320% of the total land area of the province and is legally covered by the Balochistan Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act, 2014 and Protection Rules made there under.

In addition, there are areas, which are protected and managed by the stakeholder communities. Four (04) of these areas are now managed for trophy hunting under certain management regime, whereas the remaining areas are still managed on traditional pattern.

National Parks of Balochistan

S.# Protected Area Area/ Location
1. Hazarganji Chiltan National Park With a total area of 27,400 ha, established to protect Chiltan Markhor.
2. Hingol National Park With an area of 619,100 ha, established to protect Sindh Ibex, Urial (wild sheep) and Chinkara Gazelle.
3. Ziarat National Park With a total area of 16,997 ha, established to protect Suleiman Markhor and precious flora and fauna.

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Balochistan

S. No. Protected Area Area/ Location
1. Maslakh 46575  ha ( Pishin district)
2. Sasana Mana 6607    ha (Ziarat district )
3. Gishk 24356  ha ( Kalat district)
4. Ras Koh 99498  ha ( Kharan district)
5. Ziarat 37247  ha ( Ziarat district)
6. Kurkhera 18345  ha ( Lasbella district)
7. Buzi Makola 145101 ha ( Gwadar district)
8. Chorani 19433   ha ( Khuzdar district)
9. Kachau 21660    ha ( Khuzdar district)
10. Shaahan 29555    ha ( Khuzdar district)
11. Ragha-e- Rakhshan 125425 ha ( Kharan district)
12. Kolwa kap 33198    ha ( Kech district)
13. Gut 165992  ha ( Chagai district)
14. Chapar Kohan 194616  ha ( Khuzdar district)

Game Reserves of Balochistan

S.# Protected Area Area/ Location
1. Dureji 178259  ha  ( Lasbella district)
2. Bund Khushdil Khan 1296  ha (Pishin district, a wetland which is no more functional because of long drastic drought)
3. Zangi Nawar 1069  ha ( Chagai district, a wetland which is no more functional because of long drastic drought)
4. Gogi 10364 ha  ( Ziarat district)
5. Wam 3887  ha ( Ziarat district)
6. Zawar Kan            1060  ha  ( Pishin district)
7. Kambran 211433 ha ( Chagai district)
8. Duz-Dara and Koh-e-Surkho 2351  ha (Mastung district, adjacent to Hazarganji Chiltan National Park and serves as a buffer zone for the protection and sustainable use of Chiltan Markhor)

Community Game Reserves

The Balochistan Province is a pioneer in trophy hunting Programme in the country. Currently the Balochistan Forests & Wildlife Department with collaboration of resident communities are running trophy hunting programmed in following community managed protected areas which has opened new roads towards conservation of Wildlife Resources and Socio-economic uplifting of resident community livelihoods through proceeds of the trophy hunting programmes:

  1. Torghar Conservancy at  Killa Saifullah district managed by STEP (Society for Torghar Environmental Protection),
  2. Dureji Conservancy at Lasbella district managed by DEWS (Dureji Environmental and Wildlife Society),
  3. Shah Noorani Conservancy District Khuzdar managed by WWS (Wadh Wildlife Society) and,
  4.  Talo Band Conservancy at District Gwadar managed by Talo Band Wildlife Conservation Society

Critically Endangered Ecosystems of Balochistan

Most of the above protected areas are included in the official list, but they do not sustain any practical purpose for the protection of wildlife. Lack of awareness, financial constraints and other factors have always been the limiting factors in the sustainable use of our wildlife resources. We have yet not been able so far even to assess provincial wildlife resources and develop an inventory of the same. Potential Protected Areas either government declared or community owned requires immediate attention.

The declining status of these resources (forests, rangelands, watersheds) in Balochistan is exacerbated due to ecological limitations, increasing population, vague tenure and lack of awareness, etc. As a result, out of the 10 critically endangered ecosystems of Pakistan, 5 alone are in Balochistan Province (Biological Diversity Plan for Pakistan).

Critically threatened ecosystems in Pakistan
Ecosystem Characteristics Significance
Indus delta and coastal wetlands Extensive mangroves and mudflats Inadequate protected area coverage Rich avian and marine fauna Diverse mangrove habitat Marine turtle Habitat
Indus River and wetlands Extensive wetlands Migratory flyway of global importance Habitat for Indus River dolphin
Chagai desert Desert of great antiquity Many endemic and unique species
Balochistan juniper forest Huge and ancient junipers Largest remaining Juniper Forest in the World Unique flora and fauna
Chilgoza forest (Suleiman Range) Rocky outcrops with shallow mountain soils Important wildlife habitat for several species at risk
Balochistan sub tropical forest Mid altitude forests with sparse canopy but rich associated flora Very few areas now remain important wildlife habitat
Balochistan Rivers Not connected with Indus River system Unique aquatic fauna and flora with high level of endemism
Tropical deciduous forests (Himalayan foothills) Extend from the Margala Hills National Park east to Azad Kashmir Perhaps the most floristically rich ecosystem of Pakistan
Moist & Dry Temperate Himalayan Forests Important forest tracts now becoming increasingly fragmented Global hotspots for avian diversity; important wildlife habitat
Trans-Himalayan Alps and plateau  Spectacular mountain scenery Unique fauna and flora; center of endemism

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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