It is also pleasing to see areas covered with thick flocks of birds and large herds of four-legged creatures roam free. If you have any capacity for wonder, you will experience wonder. I had no difficulty satisfying my addiction during my zigzagging in Nagar.
Few animals match the rare beauty and quiet mystery of the snow leopard. Seldom do people see these animals in the wild. They live in remote pockets of Asia. The big cats differ in appearance, body types and functions, live in different habitats, and prey on different animals.
Scientists believe the last ice age, which ended about 10,000 years ago, wiped out but a few species of big cats. The exact number of snow leopards is difficult to estimate. They live in rugged terrain and researchers mostly rely on indications of the animals rather than direct sightings. Snow leopards are superb jumpers and leapers. They can spring and pounce on prey up to 45 feet away. Some of them can still be found in the Nagar area.
A strategic plan for the conservation of snow leopards in Pakistan was presented on April 20, 2001 by an international NGO (non-governmental organization) in collaboration with the International Snow Leopard Trust in Gilgit. The presentation was attended by a large number of potential partners and stakeholders.
It was revealed that the total remaining population of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) - a globally endangered species - is estimated around 7,000-10,000, out of which approximately 300 are found in Pakistan. Some of the critical habitats of the snow leopard have been identified by the NGO and it is being planned to extend scope of activities by focusing on identifying critical habitats in NWFP, AJK, and Northern Areas.
The plan also identified various threats to the survival of snow leopards. Based on these findings, various strategies were proposed which could be implemented by both government agencies and the NGOs who are interested in big cat conservation. Only last winter, a young snow leopard was caught in Nagar Valley. Work of international NGOs to save different species of big cats' family in Iran's Kavir Desert and Nakuru area in Kenya is a good example to follow.
The most dominant geological feature of the area is Rakaposhi, first climbed in 1958 and ranked among the world's 50 highest peaks. The people of Nagar claim they have the best view of their peak. And it is true, stunning views of both Rakaposhi and its sister peak, Diran, can be seen from the Valley. And downwards, towards the Hunza River and the tall thin poplars way below, reminds one of the scales of the Karakorum Mountains.