Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: No detailed study has been conducted on the avifauna of the Park. Scott et al. (1988) during their ‘Kashmir Expedition’ have recorded 78 species of birds, including the Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus and Koklass Pucrasia macrolopha. The globally threatened Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus has also been reported. Recently, an injured bird was found by the forest officials which was later released (Department of Wildlife Protection, undated). M. M. Baba (pers. comm. 2003) has prepared a checklist of 115 species, which includes many species found in Biome-5 (Eurasian High Montane - Alpine and Tibetan) and Biome-7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Kistwar is famous for its high altitude fauna, from the elusive Snow Leopard Uncia uncia to the commoner Himalayan Ibex. During a census in 1999 by the staff of the forest department, 612 ibex were found in Kibber, Nath and Kiyar areas. Brown Bear Ursus arctos occurs mainly in sub-alpine and alpine regions, while the Eurasian Black Bear Ursus thibetanus is found in the lower reaches, where the Leopard Panthera pardus is also found. The Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Goral Nemorhaedus goral and Wild Boar Sus scrofa are some of the ungulates. The Kashmir Stag or Hangul Cervus elaphus hanglu is also reported, especially during winter. Bharal or Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur is found in the alpine regions, where it is the main prey of the Snow Leopard. There are reports of Markhor Capra falconeri. Common Langur has now been split into seven species (Groves 2001). Of these, the Himalayan Grey Langur Semnopithecus entellus ajax is found in Kistwar.
The most important areas for wildlife are considered to be the Kiar and Kibber valleys. Hangul is reported to occur in Kiar, but only in the severest of winters when animals are thought to migrate from the Dachigam, 100-150 km to the northwest. Goral is reported to occur around Sondar and Sirshi, Ibex in the Bramah area and snow leopard in Upper Kiar (Scott et al. 1988).
Before 1948, commercial logging was rampant, with almost no control by the Forest Department. After the merger of the state with the Indian union, the Forest Department took control and unrestricted tree cutting came to halt, only scientific logging was done. This also ceased with the establishment of the Park (Bacha 1986). The disturbance from graziers and their livestock is high, but the need to control it is recognized. Encroachment and poaching are persistent problems. Asiatic Black Bear and Rhesus Macaque cause damage to crops, while Leopard and Brown Bear kill livestock (Kurt 1976; Bacha 1986; Scott et al. 1988) creating resentment against the Park. The problem of Man-animal conflict has to be addressed to gain the support of the local people. There are plans for a hydroelectric dam at Hunzal, on the Marau river, which would not only inundate large areas of forest but pose a considerable threat to wildlife from the inevitable road construction and import of thousands of labourers (Gaston 1982, M. A. Parsa pers. comm. 2003).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kistwar National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/02/2023.