Dachigam: A Noah’s Ark in Kashmir Himalayas (E)
The high altitude forest ecosystem of the Dachigam National Park in the Kashmir Himalayas is one of the richest alpine forests of India and is one India’s most biodiverse biomes. The stunning landscape is home to iconic animals like Hangul (a deer), leopard, black bear, brown bear, serow, and Kashmir Langur. It is the only viable home to the largest wild population of the critically endangered deer, the Hangul. The mix of coniferous and broad leafed forests with meadows makes it a very scenic location. Managing this ecosystem needs a special understanding of high altitude ecology. It has been protected for more than 100 years and has a rich floral diversity. The butterfly and bird diversity is captivating. But being close to the city of Srinagar it has its own challenges. Alpine pastures are shrinking and population pressure is immense on the park, yet it stands out as a green Himalayan oasis. Experts say high Himalayas are already seeing changes due to climate change with the snow line receding. Climate change and global warming is taking a toll.