Hirpora (Heerpora) Wildlife Sanctuary
Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary or Heerpora Wildlife Sanctuary (Sometimes Hirpora National Park) is located in Shopian district of Kashmir, 70 kilometers south of Srinagar. It spreads over an area of 341 km2. It is bounded to the north by Lake Gumsar, northeast by Hirpora village, east by Rupri, south by Saransar and to the west by the Pir Panjal pass. The slopes are gentle to moderately steep on the eastern aspect and very steep with many cliffs on the higher northern and western aspect. The southern and southeastern portions are moderately steep.
The vegetation types present in the Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary include western mixed coniferous forests, deciduous sub-alpine scrub forests and sub-alpine pastures. Western mixed coniferous forest is dominated by Kail pine with spruce and fir (Abies pindrow) as its primary associates. The West Himalayan sub-alpine forests are dominated by fir, while the deciduous sub-alpine scrub is dominated by Himalayan birch (Betula utilis) and juniper (Juniperus communis) with wild rose as an associate. The southeastern part has moderately open coniferous vegetation dominated by Kail pine and associated with fir and spruce. The vegetation of the more rocky and open northwestern portion is predominantly sub-alpine scrub forest dominated by juniper and the Kail pine as an associated species. Man-made sub-alpine pastures also occur in both north-western and south-eastern parts of the sanctuary.
The Mughal Road cuts through the Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary and is believed to inhibit the movement of animals, especially the critically endangered Pir Panjal markhor. The Sanctuary has also been disturbed due to deforestation, excessive livestock grazing and construction of permanent huts by the Gujjars, Bakerwals & local shepherds.
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