Mandi, April 28
The process has begun to include two parks and two sanctuaries in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Kullu district so as to enhance the area of this world heritage site.
Official sources say that the GHNP authorities are planning to include the Khirganga National Park of Kullu (710 sq km), Pin Valley National Park of Lahaul and Spiti district (675 sq km), Rupi-Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary (503 sq km) of Kinnaur district, Kanwar Sanctuary (61 sq km) of Parbati valley and a 265.6 sq km eco zone in the park.
Will become 3rd largest park in country
The process to include the Khirganga National Park, Pin Valley National Park, Rupi-Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanwar Sanctuary and the eco zone in the the Great Himalayan National Park is underway. Once this is done, the GHNP will become the third biggest national park in India. —Nishant Mandhotra, DFO, GHNP
In the initial stage, the GHNP authorities will include the Khirganga National Park, a survey for which has already been completed. Another survey is underway for other areas (park and sanctuaries) to be included in this heritage site. The decision is aimed at protecting wildlife in the GHNP.
The state government had established the GHNP in 1984 primarily to protect, sustain and propagate wildlife, under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In June 2014, the GHNP was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, under the criterion of “outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation”.
Nishant Mandhotra, Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife, GHNP, Kullu, says, “The process to include the Khirganga National Park, Pin Valley National Park, Rupi-Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanwar Sanctuary and the eco zone in the GHNP is underway. Once this is done, it will become the third biggest national park in India having an area of 3,120 sq km. At present, it is spread over 905.4 sq km”.
The DFO says, “Efforts are being made in this direction as per our commitment to UNESCO to merge more areas with the heritage site for its expansion. Next year, UNESCO will conduct a meeting to review the progress”.
“After the completion of the process, we will submit a proposal to UNESCO to declare the whole area as the world heritage site,” he says. The GHNP is home to numerous flora and more than 375 fauna species, including around 31 mammals, 181 birds, three reptiles, nine amphibians, 11 annelids, 17 mollusks and 127 insects. They are protected under the strict guidelines of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Besides, it is a habitat of animals such as blue sheep, snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan tahr and musk deer.