Khunjerab National Park

Khunjerab National Park lies in the Northern areas of Pakistan. This high altitude national park, covering an area of about 2,270 sq km, is Pakistan's third largest National Park, and was established in 1975. It lies adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve in China. Over half of the park is above 4,000 metres. Khunjerab Pass, the gateway to China via the Karakoram Highway, is at 4,934 metres. The three valleys, Khunjerab (through which the Karakoram Highway passes), Ghujerab, and the remote Shimshal Valley lies within the park. The Khunjerab River flows from the watershed of the Pak-China border, joined by sevearal small tributaries finally merses into the Hunza River near Khudabad. The Ghujerab valley which forms the main tributary of the Khunjerab River also provides a link between the Khunjerab and Shimshal valleys.The park includes the world's highest pass at 4,700 metres between Pakistan and China. The national park provides the habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species such as snow leopard, marco polo sheep, and Himalayan ibex.

General Information:

Landscape: Karakoram-Pamir Protected Area Type: National Park
Established Year: 1975 Area: 2269.13 sq. km.

Geographical Features:

Min: 36.52 Max:
Min: 75.43 Max:
From: 2439 meter To: 6000 meter
Average rainfall (m): Annual precipitation varies from 200 to 900mm (7.9 to 35 in), 90 percent in the form of snow
Climate: Being alpine in nature, the area has comparatively harsh winters but mild autumn and pleasant summer, with mean maximum temperature ascending up to 27°C in May and descending below 0°C in November and onward.

Biodiversity Features:

Province: Himalayan Highlands
Biomes: Eurasian High Montane

Socioeconomic Features:

Community Structure:
Natural Heritage:
Cultural Significance:
Livelihood strategies: The economy has always been primarily based on subsistence-level farming. With the completion of the Karakoram Highway, the degree of acculturation has been considerable. Since 1970, many people have resettled in Gilgit and men have sought employment elsewhere, some 40% spending 5 years or more away from the Hunza Valley and often in the army. The Aga Khan Foundation, which aims to benefit the religious and secular life of Ishmaeli muslims and the wider community, is having an increasing role in the development of the region and has essentially replaced that of the Mir who traditionally played a central part in Hunza life.

Conservation Management:

IUCN Category: II - National Park
Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.
Management Authority:
Park Head Quarter:
Conservation History: The park is established in 1975 for the protection, multiplication and propagation of rare and endangered species like marco polo sheep, blue sheep, Himalayan ibex, Tibetan wild ass, wolf and snow leopard besides providing them with an undisturbed habitat.
Conservation Challenges: About sixty six kilometer of Karakoram Highway runs through the park that has contributed to the decline of marco polo sheep, largely as a result of hunting and general disturbance. Further disturbances are anticipated now that Pakistan and China have signed an agreement to establish a trade-free zone on the Chinese side of the Khunjerab Pass. Some pastures are overgrazed, including those within the 12 km protected zone where restrictions on livestock have been violated. Illegal hunting still prevalent despite ban. Over collection of fuelwood has also contributed to degradation of vegetation cover in some areas. Snow leopard accounts for a significant offtake of livestock, thought to be about 10% annually. Relatively few snow leopards are killed in retaliation. The construction of a motorable road up the Shimshal Valley will have an enormous impact on the bharal population unless protection measures are adequately enforced. The presence of a permanent police quarters within the park is a source of friction, particularly as police regularly hunt ibex.
Conservation Efforts:
Transboundary Features:
Base Layers
Other Layers
  • Important Bird Areas
  • Protected Area
  • Corridor
  • Ecology
  • Globe Land Cover
  • Landscape
  • HKH Boundary