Must-See Wildlife Sanctuaries in Pakistan

Just like other countries, wildlife sanctuaries in Pakistan are classified as special zones where the local or provincial government protects the country’s unique wildlife. 

Pakistan is home to many protected nature reserves that tourists can explore. It is time to get off the beaten track and explore these wildlife reserves in the country, as they call out to you. Here are all the important nature reserves in Pakistan, along with details of species that call the reserves their home. 

Astor Wildlife Sanctuary

Sitting near the Gilgit, Baltistan mountain ranges, Astor Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Pakistan’s few rural protected areas. A region of 416 square kilometers on the northern division of the Astor Valley covers the nature park. The highland includes a small population of the national animal of Pakistan, the Astor Markhor, which is also known as flare-horned markhor. You can also find a few endangered species in the area, including snow leopards, Eurasian lynx, and Himalayan bears. 

Baltistan Wildlife Sanctuary

In 1975, one of the few protected mountainous areas in Pakistan that are home to many endangered species became the Baltistan Wildlife Sanctuary. This wildlife park, covering an area of 415 square kilometers, is located in the northern division of Baltistan. Some species that roam free in the park are Brown Bear, Snow Leopard, Tibetan fox, Tibetan wolf, Asiatic ibex, Blue sheep, and Markhor. 

Chashma and Taunnsa Barrage Dolphin Reserve

The Chashma and Taunsa Barrage Dolphin Reserve is the place to be if you are searching for an off-road destination. Renowned for the scenic views of the River Indus, the dam is home to some of the rarest species of dolphins. 

Locally known as Chasma Dolphin Reserve, the park falls under the control of the Punjab Government and it was opened to the public in 1972. The specific reserve includes some of the most endangered species, such as Marmaronetta angustirostris. It is also known as the marbled duck and is extremely important for breeding, staging, and wintering areas for waterfowl. 

Cholistan Wildlife Sanctuary

Cholistan Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Pakistan’s most significant wildlife parks. It is marked as a nature reserve near the south-eastern division of Punjab, with a good mix of rare species nestled in one location. This park is home to a number of animals such as Indian Fox, Red Fox, Desert Wolf, Small Indian Civet, Jackal, Indian Desert Cat, and Indian Mongoose. 

Many wild cats, such as Chinkara gazelle, Nilgai antelope, falcons, Blackbuck, Houbara bustard, and Black-backed vulture species have made Cholistan Nature Reserve their home. If you are fascinated by herpetology, you would be delighted to know that there are also quite a few reptiles in the reserve. This includes Monitor lizard, Indian Cobra, and Saw scaled and Russell’s vipers. 

Hub Dam Wildlife Sanctuary

Located near one of Pakistan’s most important wildlife parks, Kirthar National Park, the Hub Dam Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the country’s few marine wildlife sanctuaries. Explicitly reserved for marine Animals is the 32-kilometer area next to the dam. People living in Karachi or visiting the town should make it a point to visit the wildlife reserve. 

In addition, Kirthar National Park sits in the vicinity of this marine wildlife sanctuary in Sindh. It includes Sindh wild goat, Urial, Wolf, Jackal, and Chinkara gazelle. Pangolin, Fox, several water flow, and numerous other birds and reptiles also live in the surroundings of these two areas. 

Kargah Wildlife Sanctuary

Kargah Wildlife Sanctuary is another important nature reserve in Pakistan, nestled in the Kargah Valley and just 5 km North West of Gilgit. A limited population of Astor Markhor includes the wildlife in the park. You are bound to have a fine time getting to know more about the national animal of the country.

Mahal Kohistan Wildlife Sanctuary

Mahal Kohistan is situated near the Kirthar National Park in Sindh. It is home to many jackals, foxes, Chinkara gazelle, jungle cats, urials, and reptiles including Indian Cobra and Monitor Lizards. 

Naltar Wildlife Sanctuary

The Naltar Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1975 over an area of 272 square kilometers in the Naltar Valley. It is mostly known for its majestic lakes, has a rare mix of wildlife. According to the latest census, a small population of Astor Markhor, Snow Leopard, Grey wolf, and Brown Bear lives there. Red fox, Leopard cat, and Beech Marten are also among the species found in this area.

Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, as the name implies, is located in the deserted region of Sindh and provides shelter for the province’s precious wildlife. One of the most famous wildlife in this area is the Mugger Crocodile. According to the latest census, jackals, pangolins, foxes, wolves, and honey badgers are also frequently spotted here. 

Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary

Rann of Kutch is one of the few deserted nature reserves in Pakistan, located in the south-eastern division of Sindh and close to the Indian border. The zone is also the only region in Pakistan to boast onagers, but much of its biodiversity has been lost over time. The popular animal species present in this area are currently the Blue Bull, Chinkara, and Desert Wolf. Nilgai has also been seen on rare occasion in the forest.

Flamingos are also known to be found in the Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary. Although pelicans, cranes, waterfowl, and storks use it as a staging area.

Sukkur and Guddu Barrage Dolphin Reserve

The Sukkur and Guddu Barrage Dolphin Reserve, declared as a protected area for the Indus Dolphin, is an area for the country's marine animals. The sanctuary also attracts a large number of migratory birds, sitting in an almost ideal location in Sindh.

Currently, thanks to the joint efforts of WWF-Pakistan and Sindh Wildlife Department, the Indus Blind Dolphin population in the reserve has risen to 400-500.

So, if you want to explore the unique wildlife that Pakistan has to offer, it would be a good option to visit the reserves that are open to the public. Explore and have the time of your life!