BALOCHISTAN FLORA AND FAUNA

Flora and Fauna

Flora

The flora[1] native to the province include karir (Capparis aphylla), milk broom or barri/bata (Periploca aphylla), pipa or chaunga or boteri (Caralluma tuberculata or boucerosia), rohida or desert teak/marwar teak (Tecoma undulata), little desert thistle (Acanthodium), wild turmeric (Spicatum), jand (Prosopis spicigera), vegetable rennet (Withania coagulans), ber (Zizyphus jujube), toothbrush tree, jhal, khabbar, or pilu (Salvadora oleoides), 3 varieties of acacia, khim or khip (Leptadenia spartium), wedge leaved taverniera (Taverniera nummularia), a weed of cabbage family (Physorhynchus brahuicus), camelthorn (Alhagi maurorum). In low lying areas, where water is available, frash (Tamarix articulata) and French tamarisk (Tamarix gallica) are found. The herbaceous vegetation is scanty, consisting of such plants as booh (Aerva javanica), rasana or Indian camphorweed (Pluchea lanceolata), damiya (Fagonia Arabica), sharpwing monkey flower (Mimulus alatus) and neutral henna (Cassia obovata). In saline soil, 2 kinds of salt tree (haloxylon), sea blites (Suaeda vermiculata) and lani (Salsola foetida) are abundant. The most important grasses are murat (Panicum antidotale), chimber (Eleusine flagellifera) and lovegrass (Eragrostis).In the upper highlands, the flora consists of sagebush (Artemisia) and saxaul (Haloxylon), Himalayan ash (Griffithii), athel pine (Tamarix), some species of khar (Salsola), European grass (Arenaria) and saxaul (Halocharis). Up to an elevation of 2,133.6 m (7,000 ft) above mean sea level, species of prickly thrift (Acantholimon), chickpea (Acanthophyllum), mor or a species of sage (Salvia), a species of almond (Amygdalus), a species of the rose family (Spiraea), karo or kaur (Gentiana), varahi (Eremostachys) and species of zaminkhand (Campanula) are found. Pistachio trees associated with ash, wild olives, and daphne are also common. At higher elevations, junipers, macropoda, and prunus eburnea are abundant. Other plants common at these altitudes are lonicera, caragana ambigua, berberis, cantoneaster, nummularia, rosa beggeriana, and 2 varieties of pennisetum.In addition, a large number of medicinal plants are also found in Balochistan; some of these are:Tundoo or jawain or camelthorn (Alhagi maurorum), surma or jungle chaulai (Amaranthus viridis L.), zair gulai or gul-e-ashrafi or field marigold (Calendula arvensis L.), spalmaka or Indian milkweed/rubber tree (Calotropis procera), baruva or khabbal/devil’s grass (Cynodon dactylon), deelie or nut grass/mutha (Cyperus rotundus L.), kunzala or wild safflower/kandiari (Carthamus oxyacantha), surma or goosefoot/bathu (Chenopodium album), khsu beeta or malva/prickly malvastrum (Malvastrum coromandelianum), malkindie or bur clover/maina (Medicago polymorpha L.) shunzai or white clover (Melilotus alba Desr.), and wurkhurha or kulfa (Portulaca oleracea L.).

Fauna

Balochistan’s Conservation strategy by IUCN states that there are 71 different types of mammals, 356 types of birds, 94 varieties of reptiles, 8 different kinds of amphibians and 61 types of fresh water fish in Balochistan. Some important mammals found in Balochistan are Chilton markhor, Sindh ibex, urial, chinkara, leopard, black bear, Indian hedgehog, pygmy shrew, fruit bat, Indian flying fox, varieties of bats, caracal or red lynx, jungle cat, pallas cat, sand or dune cat, 2 varieties of mongoose, wolf, jackal, 5 varieties of fox, hyena, marbled polecat, badgers, anteaters, Suleiman markhor, goitered gazelle, wild boar, wild ass, palm squirrel, varieties of jerboas, varieties of mouse and rat, varieties of gerbil, moles, and porcupines.

Avifauna includes houbara bustard, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, honey buzzard, Laggar falcon, peregrine falcon, kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, scoops owl, varieties of cormorants, pelicans, egrets, herons, stork, ibis, spoon bills, flamingos, widgeon, shovellor, kites, eagles, varieties of vultures, hawks, varieties of partridges, and other various migratory birds.

Reptilian fauna includes varieties of toads and frogs, geckos, agamas, lizards, skinks, lacerta, sand boa snake, dark headed gamma snake, diadem snake, sand races, and varieties of vipers.

Among fish, there are 20 species of whales and dolphins recorded in Pakistani waters, 12 of which have been recorded from Gwadar and Balochistan waters.

Figure 1.25 Sand cat

[1] Provincial Profile Balochistan 1998; by GoPakistan.