Chitral National Park is one of the National Parks of Pakistan. It is located in Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan beside the Chitral River, at a distance of two hours’ drive from Chitral city. The park is also known as Chitral Gol National Park.
Up until 1983, Chitral Gol was considered to be the private property of the former Mehtar of Chitral. The status of the park has been in dispute since and has become the issue of ongoing litigation between heirs of the former Mehtar and the Government of Pakistan.
The way leading to the park is quite narrow and dangerous, yet more risky during the rainy days. It is located between 1450 metres and about 5000 metres above sea level. It has an area of 7750 hectares.
This park includes three valleys. Several glaciers also lie in the park through which several springs make their way and ultimately form a stream which runs 18 kilometres. The cold water of this stream flows towards the east, into the River Chitral. The park is rich in trees particularly cedar trees. The park also serves to provide shelter to a vast bio-diversity, especially markhor, endangered wild goat specie. The subspecies, which are found in the park include the astor markhor. Despite a decline from over 500 to only around 200 individuals in the park during the 1980s, Chitral National Park still holds the largest population of the astor markhor in the world. Also present in the park in small numbers are the Siberian ibex, ladakh urial, as well as the asian black bear. The snow leopard does not appear to be a permanent resident of the park, but is sometimes seen there. The tibetan wolf, red fox, yellow-throated marten and himalayan otter are all found in the park. Common birds in the park include, the bearded vulture, himalayan vulture,golden eagle, demoiselle crane, peregrine falcon, himalayan snowcock, himalayan monal, snow partridge and rock partridge.
This park is famous for its Markhor goats, estimated 100-125 in 1970, and 225 in 1975. A more recent estimate indicates a population size of 650. Other ungulates, such as Siberian ibex and Ladakh urial (Shapu), occur in very small numbers, as do black bear. The status of snow leopard changed from tenuous security in 1970 to seriously threatened by 1974. The species does not appear to be resident, visiting the park occasionally. Wolves are seen less frequently following restrictions on grazing by livestock.
Mammals in the park include---Snow leopard (T), Kashmir Markhor (V), Siberian ibex (V), Ladakh urial (T), Black bear (T), Tibetan Wolf (V), Red fox (C), Yellow throated martin (C) and Himalayan otter (V).
Note: T=Threatened, V=Vulnerable, R=Rare, C=Common, ?=Unknown.
Common bird in the park are---- Lammergier vulture, Himalayan Griffon vulture, Golden eagle, Demosille crane (Passage migrant), Peregrine falcon, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan monal, Snow partridge and rock Partridge.
The annual rainfall in its region is estimated to be 462 ml. In September, it rains more on the spectacular peaks surrounding the park. However, in November, the rainfall is more in the valleys and on the lower peaks. There is also snowfall during the winter season. The snow-covered white peaks enhance the beauty till June. The general weather is cold and dry. The temperature ranges from -12.2 to 43.3 °C.
The Birmoghlasht part of the park is where the former Mehtar’s summer fort is located. At the time of existence of the Chitral State, the Mehtar and his family use to move here in the summer and hold court. The fort was constructed in such a way that it overlooked the entire city. It stands at an elevation of over 2800 meters above sea level