Deosai National Park
Deosai National Park Gilgit Baltistan is located in the Great Himalayan Range, Northern Areas, Pakistan. The Deosai plateau is conveniently placed between the western massif of the Himalayas and the central Karakoram.
The park is not only about wildlife but also about stunning scenic views of the snow-clad mountains and streams. The natural beauty and impressive grandeur of the Deosai plains have made it world famous. Spread over an area of 3,000 square kilometres, at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level, the plains are home to unique species of plant and animal life, of which the Himalayan Brown Bears are the most famous.In the words of Aleister Crowley, “In front of us lay the Deosai, an absolutely treeless wilderness of comparatively level country framed by minor peaks. It gives a unique impression of desolation. To the south of and visible from both the Burji and Satpara approaching areas is a 700-foot hill, on top of which is a 500 foot-high-rock cairn. This unnamed hilltop in the northern deosai region produces a clear panorama of the Himalayan Kangri Range and sections of the Karakoram.
As you ascend its gentle, grass covered slopes, Nanga Parbat will come into view far to the west of you. In ‘Gypsy Davy’s’ words, “It was such an expanse of immensity as I have hardly imagined…It seems you cannot talk in a matter-of-fact way in a place like that…I thought the Sierras were large, but here, where we could see three or four score miles north, south, east and west, and see only mountains, and most of them above twenty thousand feet, the Sierras seem like sand dunes”.The park remains wrapped in the white sheet of snow from November to May and it is only in the summer months one gets an opportunity to visit the park.
It is home to unique high altitude flora and fauna, including the Himalayan Brown Bears. Deosai is thought to have created a special habitat where this endemic species has evolved over time. Most of the plateau is a common grazing ground for the rural communities that live around it. There are sixteen villages that are settled on the periphery of Deosai.It is accessible to them only for a few months every year during the brief spring and summer. During the cold season, it stands aloof and forlorn, a vast and magnificent wilderness, one of the few that have remained in Pakistan. The park can be reached from Astore Valley in the west and Skardu in the north.
Wildlife: Deosai Plains make up one of the last frontiers of natural habitat for the Himalayan brown bear, a creature that once roamed the mountains freely. The park currently has in between 20-28 Brown bears. This park was established to protect these endangered bears. Recently a research project has started by Himalayan Wildlife Foundation (HWF) and the Northern Areas Forests, Parks, and Wildlife Department to secure the survival of the brown bear in the Deosai Plains and to monitor their population. The Deosai Plains are also home to the ibex, red fox, golden marmot, wolf, the Ladakh urial, the snow leopard, and a number of resident and migratory birds.
Mammals: Mammals in the park include–Brown bear , Snow leopard , Himalayan Musk deer Golden marmot , Pika , Migratory hamster and Ermine .
Birds: Birds in the park are–Golden eagle, Lammergeyer vulture, Griffon vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk and Snow cock.