ISLAMABAD, Feb 03 (APP):The region of Potohar is blessed with a unique geographical terrain with thousands of years’ old heritage submerged under the dust of time and its vast areas rich with biodiversity and wildlife.
Chinji National Park after 33 years of oblivion came to the limelight as it existed as a reserve area merely in papers in the past that narrates the unheard heritage history sprawling over 15,003 acres of land.
After a joint collaborative effort of the Ministry of Climate Change and Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department under the former’s Sustainable Forest Management project supported by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established a fully equipped state-of-the-art information center and watching tower in the Park.
The National Park is part of the Prime Minister’s Protected Areas Initiative under which the existing number of national parks has been scaled up from 30 to 45 with a 50 percent increase.
The Chinji National Park spreading over a vast area is rife with diverse plant species of 37 different kinds where it has huge water bodies in the shape of lakes that make it an attractive spot for migratory or passage migrant birds with diverse habitat and wildlife linked to it.
There was an artificial dam built in the National Park that has added more to the beauty of its already picturesque environment and would be a good source of recreation in the summer season.
The most significant mammal of the Park is Punjab Urial which is also a game animal among Asiatic jackal, Cape hare, Red fox, Scaly anteater or Pangolin, Jungle cat, porcupine, hedgehog, mongoose, Five-striped Palm squirrel and musk shrew are also reported in the area.
The bird lovers and photographers can spot reptiles like Bengal monitor lizard, Yellow-bellied house gecko and Indian garden lizard whereas birds like Chukar, See-see partridge, Grey francolin, Common quail, Blue rock pigeon, Black winged stilt, Laughing dove, Red-wattled lapwing, Crow pheasant, White-throated kingfisher, Red-vented bulbul, Black shouldered kite, Common kite, Common teal, and Pochard were also reported in the area.
There are also scenic trails having vast green cover with thick foliage in the Park while it also has a jeep track as well.
The National Park also houses a plethora of over millions of years old tree fossils that are also displayed at the information center whereas taxidermy of Punjab Urial is also placed in the Center for visitors’ education and awareness on the animal.
The information center is a modern facility developed at the pattern of global national parks with all necessary information pertaining to flora and fauna existing in the Park.
A watch tower built with stones was also set up with indigenous building material that provides a beautiful and complete view of the national park extended before its observer.
Chinji National Park was declared a forest reserve in 1987 and only existed on papers where the Ministry of Climate Change in cooperation with the provincial Forest Department materialised the forest reserve project.
There are around 12 security guards hired to provide facilitation and monitoring of the park.
However, the local communities are provided green jobs under this initiative whereas no hunting is allowed in the national park.
SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam inaugurated the National Park on January 25 and vowed to develop a latest track and trace system at the national park to ensure navigation of the park guards and visitors