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Updated: June 24, 2014 02:17 IST

Himachal park is now a World Heritage Site

Kanwar Yogendra
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The Great Himalayan National Park is home to many rare flora and fauna.
The Great Himalayan National Park is home to many rare flora and fauna.

“What is noteworthy is that there will be no dislocation of families living in the core park area”

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh was accorded the Unesco World Heritage Site status on Monday.

The Unesco World Heritage Site Committee at Doha in Qatar granted the status to the park under the criteria of “exceptional natural beauty and conservation of biological diversity.”

The GHNP has now come in the league of Indian World Heritage Sites (WHS) such as the Taj Mahal, Ellora, Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Manas National Park, Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve and the Sunderbans.

Boost for ecotourism

This would help in boosting ecotourism in the hill State, said Forest Minister Thakar Singh Bharmauri. What is noteworthy is that there would be no dislocation of villages or families living in the core park area and their rights had been recognised and would stay protected, he said.

The Forest Minister said the GHNP was declared a National Park under the Wildlife (Protection Act), 1972, by the Himachal Pradesh government in 1999. A total of 832 plant species, representing 128 families and 427 genera, which cover 26 per cent of the total flora of Himachal Pradesh, have been recorded in the GHNP.

It is also home to a number of threatened species, providing them with habitats critical to their survival. It supports self-sustaining populations of near-threatened, vulnerable and endangered species like leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Royle’s Vole, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan serow, Himalayan goral, Himalayan musk deer, western tragopan and cheer pheasant. The endangered snow leopard and the critically endangered Red-headed vulture are also present.

According to V.B. Mathur, director of the Wildlife Institute of India, the park has been inscribed under category 10 of the World Heritage Convention that covers areas that “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 inscription comes as recognition to the efforts at conserving and managing the unique natural heritage of the country, said a communication from S.K. Khanduri, Inspector-General of Forests (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment and Forests.

(With additional reporting by K.S. Sudhi)

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