Verge of extinction: List of top 10 animals endangered in Pakistan

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Pakistan’s Climate Change Ministry have created their ‘Red List’ of endangered wildlife. The list includes more than 50 animals that are near extinction.

Pakistan is one of the blessed countries when it comes to natural beauty, reserves, and wildlife. However, due to the lack of attention of our policymakers towards environmental factors, Pakistan is among the top five countries vulnerable to climate change.

Unfortunately, due to deforestation, water pollution, urbanization, hunting, and fishing in Pakistan, many exotic animals are on the verge of extinction.

Here is a list of 10 animals that are on the verge of extinction:


Markhor is Pakistan’s national animal. The species is native to Central Asia, Karakorum, and the Himalayas. It was listed on the Red List of endangered animals by the IUCN since 2015.

 As per multiple reports, Markhors in Pakistan have now reduced down to around 2500 -3000. It is primarily due to illegal hunting of animals, deforestation, and wild predators like leopards.

Himalayan Brown Bear

 Himalayan brown bear- a sub-species to Brown bear is native to Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal and, China. The Himalayan Brown Bear is one of the biggest mammals in Pakistan and is categorized as critically endangered by the IUCN, specifically in the area of Hindukush and Himalayas.

The main reason for their endangerment is hunting and poaching these animals to use their internals for medication while their fur and claws for ornaments. Moreover, these bears are often hunted by shepherds to protect their cattle.

Asian White-Backed Vulture

Asian White-backed vulture is locally known as Gidh in Pakistan. These vultures were present in Pakistan in thousands during the 90s. However, they are currently critically endangered as the number of vultures in Pakistan is hardly in the hundreds (221 in 2011).

The primary reason for the extinction of these vultures in Pakistan and other countries is the veterinary drug diclofenac, which transfers to vultures when they eat carcasses. 

In 2006, Pakistan, along with Nepal, banned the use of diclofenac. Pakistan has saved some individuals of the species and would soon start artificial incubation of the Asian White-backed vultures.

Snow Leopards

Snow Leopards are endangered mammals and are present in a quantity of around 4000 worldwide. The species is found in Hindukush and Karakorum region as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) noticed that the population of these animals is now barely 200-250 in Pakistan.

Pallas cats

Pallas cat is native to Ghizar, Chitral, and Kurram Agency and is locally known as Runz. The species is also found in a small population in Baluchistan.

In 2002, Pallas cats were declared endangered by the IUCN as they were often hunted for their dense fur.


Known locally as ‘Kaala Hiran,’ blackbuck is another endangered species in Pakistan. It is native to Pakistan and India. However, extensive hunting and urbanization have badly affected the population of blackbuck.

During the 1970s and 80s, several blackbucks were brought from the United States to Pakistan to increase their population. Although the animal population increased in Sindh and Punjab but, due to their hunting by humans and wild animals, the species is still considered endangered by the IUCN.

Indus River Dolphins


The Indus River Dolphin is native to rivers of the lower Indus basin in Pakistan. According to the IUCN, there are hardly 1000 of these giant mammals left in the world.

The species is severely endangered in Pakistan as the country climbs up to the most affected countries from climate change. The drying up of rivers, construction of dams and barrages have disturbed the habitats of Indus River Dolphins.

Golden Mahseer

Golden Mahseer is a popular game-fish that is native to Pakistan. Its existence has declined by 50% during the past few decades. In Pakistan alone, the small Golden Mahseer has become restricted to streams and lakes of the Northern side, while large fishes are found in perennial pools only. The depletion of this species is primarily due to urbanization, overfishing, and changes in their chemical and physical features.

Houbara Bustards


Houbara bustard is among Pakistan’s most exotic birds and is extensively hunted despite being considered illegal. The population of the species declined by 35% in Pakistan. Several issues were raised when the Pakistani government allowed Qatari royal family members to hunt Houbara in Tharparkar in 2014 that led to the killing of more than 2000 birds.

However, The PTI-led government has now banned hunting of Houbara bustards.

Marco Polo Sheep


Marco polo sheep are generally found in mountainous areas of Central Asia and are native to Pakistan. They have steep valleys and open areas as their habitat and are considered valuable in agricultural areas.

Since it’s an exotic mammal, Marco Polo sheep are often hunted for their skin, meat, and horns. However, the government has now taken its conservation very seriously as the species were declared endangered by the IUCN in 2015. The Khunjerab National Park has a separate conservation section for Marco Polo Sheep where hunting is not allowed.

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