Environmental Security

WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Gilgit Baltistan

Saeed Abbass, Zafar Khan

The workshop is conducted as a Nature Walk in the beautiful valley of Naltar due to its rich bio diversity; wetlands, bird species, glaciers and wild life. On the larger region of GB, the group has been exposed to the effects of Karakoram Highway on the natural environment of Karakoram ranges and valleys on the glaciers, water management systems, agro-pastoral lands, Alpine Forests and the movement of human settlemets to higher altitudes causing conflicts between wild life species and livestock. The Nature Walk is followed by a discussion on Bio Diversity in GB area.

Naltar valley is comprised of two small villages named Naltar Paeen and Naltar Bala, is very close to Gilgit and Nagar valley. It is 40 km (25 miles) from Gilgit and can be accessible by jeeps. Naltar is a forested valley recognized for its flora (pine, juniper, birch and hundreds of medicinal herbs including Wild cumin, black cumin, wild thyme etc) and fauna (Snow leopard, Himalayan ibex, Astore Markhor, Gray wolf etc) and for its heart touching mountain sceneries.

In the Naltar valley there is a famous lake known as ‘Bashkiri Lake’ which is complex of many small lakes and Naltar lake is also a wetland of national importance. It is at a distance of 32 kilometers (20 miles) from Naltar Bala. This lake gives a breathtaking and amazing look both in the summer and as well as in winter. There are many small glaciers in Naltar valley which pour Naltar stream. This stream is a source for Hydel power generation that lightens almost 60 percent of District Gilgit including the Gilgit city.

People depend on agriculture and pastoralism for their livelihood in addition to tourism as Naltar is considered as a tourist hub, especially from May till the end of September. Every year hundred and thousands of international and national tourists visit this area to view the beauty of nature.