KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to establish a second national park in the province, 46 years after it set up the first one, Kirthar National Park, in 1974.
The decision was finalised after the Ministry of Climate Change approved a proposal for establishing the park sent couple of months ago and agreed to sponsor the project.
To be named Takkar National Park, the second park will sprawl over 17,540 acres of land in Kot Diji taluka, Sukkur district, with topographical features comprising mountains, plains and deserts.
Moreover, the site chosen for establishing the park is rich in biodiversity, inhabited by foxes, jackals, jungle cats, chinkara deer, houbara bustard, falcons, among other animal species, besides abounding in vegetation.
According to Sindh wildlife department (SWD) deputy conservator Adnan Khan, the site for Takkar National Park was identified the same year when Kirthar National Park was established near Karachi.
"There is no human settlement near the site of the park," added Khan, explaining that it was likely to help with the population growth of animals by a significant margin in the region, once the site was declared protected land.
"It will also help in boosting the growth of vegetation, and eventually tourism," he went on. "It is one of the most beautiful sites featuring [natural] landscape [in the province]."
Speaking along similar lines, Prof Mastoor Bukhari of Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, said the area was rich in history, cultural and biodiversity.
"It is surrounded by the Rohri hills and Lakhyan Jo Daro, and if preserved, it will attract tourists, as well as researchers," she observed, adding that the development would also curb illegal excavation in the region.
Echoing these views, SWD conservator Javed Ahmed Mahar too appreciated the biodiversity of the region, attributing it to its good climatic conditions. He expressed the belief that the newly established park would not only help boost tourism in the province but more importantly, would result in the reintroduction of several lost animal species.
This was also confirmed by Khan, who, sharing details of the plans for the park, said that the government intended to set up tourism check posts at the site, re-introducing various animal species, including chinkara deer, and ensure community participation for running and maintaining it.
"The site for the park was once inhabited by various animal species that disappeared after the 1990s," he told The Express Tribune, adding that many of them would be reintroduced in the region. However, he did not disclose the reason behind the disappearance of animals.
According to SWD officials, Sindh, gifted with a riverine system along Indus River, irrigated plains, sandy deserts, Indus Delta, mudflats and a vast network of inland lakes and mountains, as well as 322 species of birds, 107 of reptiles, 82 of mammals, 10 Ramsar sites, 13 game reserves and 33 wildlife sanctuaries, was the first province in the country to have established a national park.
However, over the years, it has lagged behind other provinces as they continued to invest in setting up parks, while it had just one.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2020.