Lal Suhanra National Park
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Lal Sohanra is a national park of Pakistan situated in Bahawalpur district of Punjab province, which is one of the largest nationals parks in South Asia. Lal Sohanra is spread over 153000 acre and is notable for the diversity of its landscape, which includes areas of desert, forest and water.
Geography and wildlife
The park itself is situated some 35 kilometres east of Bahawalpur and presents a synthesis of forest and desert life. It occupies land on both sides of Desert Branch canal, and is spread over an area of 127,480 acres (51,368 hectares) - out of which 20,974 acres (8,491 hectares) are green land (irrigated plantations), 101,726 acres (40,942 hectares) are dry land (desert), and 4,780 acres are wet land (ponds and lakes). The park's terrain is generally flat, interspersed with sand dunes measuring between 1 and 6 meters in height and occupying as many as thousands of acres apiece.
Many species of animals can be found throughout the park. These include several wild animals of the desert such as wildcats, rabbits, bustards, and deer. Reptiles in the park include the monitor lizard, Russell's viper, Indian cobra, saw-scaled viper, wolf snake, John's sand boa, and spiny-tailed lizard. More than 160 species of birds are also present, including the houbara bustard, griffon vulture, crested honey buzzard, marsh harrier, hen harrier, laggar falcon, peregrine falcon, kestrel, Eurasian sparrowhawk, Egyptian vulture, lark, shrike, wheatear, and barn owl. Lake Patisar, a large body of water in the center of the park, is ideal for bird watching. In mid-winter, the lake is regularly home to between 10,000 and 30,000 ducks and common coot.
The Punjab government has plans to convert the Lal Sohanra National Park into a wildlife safari park of international standard. One of its most prominent attractions is currently the lion safari, which allows guests to see lions in their natural habitat at close range. In addition, the park's captive breeding suite holds a pair of Indian rhinoceros which were given by Nepal. Rhinos were once found as far west as the Peshawar Valley during the reign of Mughal Emperor Babur, but are now extinct in Pakistan and western India.
Over 400 animals are currently being bred in the Lal Sohanra Park, including a large population of blackbucks, a breed of antelope most notable for its pronounced sexual dimorphism. The park is constantly supplied with new blackbucks in order to extend its efforts toward blackbuck conservation.
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