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Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area Inscribed as World Heritage Site

The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA), India, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criterion (x) of UNESCO Guidelines. The Criterion X is “To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.”

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is located in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India. The concept of environmental conservation in the Kullu Valley is very ancient. The names of many places in this valley commemorate saints who came here to meditate in the great sanctuary of Himalayas. Some of these sanctuaries are still preserved as sacred groves of trees. The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA) has GHNP (754.4 sq km), Sainj (90 sq km) and Tirthan (61 sq km) Wildlife Sanctuaries. The 905.40 sq km GHNPCA includes the upper mountain glacial and snow melt water source origins of the westerly flowing JiwaNal, Sainj and Tirthan Rivers and the north-westerly flowing Parvati River.

Situated at the confluence of Oriental and Palaearctic realms, GHNP provides a unique opportunity for the species from both bio-geographic regions to thrive, disperse and evolve. GHNPCA is home to several Rare and Threatened species including the Western Tragopan, Chir Pheasant, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Musk Deer, Asiatic Black Bear, Himalayan Tahr, Blue Sheep and Serow. Some 25 Threatened IUCN Red-listed plant species are recorded from the park. The GHNP has more than 35 peaks of greater than 5000m and two greater than 6000m which taken together are arguably more exceptional than a few isolated higher peaks in the region. The boundaries of GHNP are also contiguous with the recently established (2010) Khirganga National Park (710 sq km), the Pin Valley National Park (675 sq km) in Trans-Himalaya, Rupi-Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary (503 sq km) in Sutlej watershed and Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary (61 sq km). Together these four protected areas (PAs) add 1,949 sq km to the area around GHNP and its buffer zone, making the total contiguous protected area associated with the nominated property approximately 2,854.4 sq km not including the Ecozone. GHNP inscription would serve to expedite integration of other PAs into a huge GHNP Conservation Area of ca. 2850 km2.

Source : www.pib.nic.in

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