Lolly the Snow Leopard -2

The story about the Snow Leopard, “Lolly”. (The photo of snow leopard in this article is in captivity, not in wild)

The Snow Leopard Lolly moved from Khunjerab National park check post to Naltar Valley in the winter of 2016. It moved to a larger facility, but it was a different environment from Khunjerab National Park, where she was born.

We visited the Naltar valley in the month of February. The high peaks, villages were very beautifully shrouded in snow, truly a winter wonderland.
We continued to Naltar where heavy snowfall was expected.

Naltar is a heavy snowfall area and is also known for its ski area. It is close to Gilgit, but I had to go by 4WD.

Finally, I arrived at Naltar. I went to the place where Lolly inhabited.
The place was located about 10min walk from Ski slope on the mountain.
But I was unable to find Lorry. I asked the person who is taking care of Lolly, he replied, “Lolly is sleeping in the snow pit, so wait”.
At last! Lolly came out of the snow pit.

Lolly must be about 4 years old. A beautiful female Snow Leopard.

Lolly started to move. This facility is located on the mountain slope. So, sometimes it is difficult to follow Lolly on the snowy slope.

The fence of the facility. If you want to take a beautiful picture, then you need a telephoto lens such as 400mm. Also, to get a better chance of photography, you need patience and time to stay and wait, as Lolly may be sleeping in the day time.
More importantly, it is ideal to stay overnight at Naltar where a simple guest house is available. It will be another winter experience!

Photo: Mariko    Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation : Feb 2017, Captive condition at Naltar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
Reference: Local staff of SLF at Naltar Valley

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Narltar Valley > - Snow Leopard (in Captivity)
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Lolly the Snow Leopard -1

This article is about the Snow Leopard named “Lolly”, who was kept at the entrance of Khunjerab National Park in 2015. (All photos of snow leopards in this article are taken while in captivity. Lolly is kept in the Naltar Valley as of May 2019.)

Snow Leopards follow and prey on wild animals such as Ibex in high mountains in northern Pakistan. In winter, descend down to the Karakoram Highway.

About 13 years ago, there was a Snow Leopard cub named “Leo” at the National Park office. Tourists who crossed the border to China used to see Leo and could take a photo with him. But it went to the zoo in the United States.

About seven years ago, villagers found a Snow Leopard cub drowned in the frozen river and saved it. A female Snow Leopard cub, who is estimated to be about six months old, was named “Lolly” and was kept in check post of KVO and Khunjerab National Park near Sost. When we visited, Lolly was in her third year in the cage.

Mr. Farman Razah who saved Lolly gets close to Lolly …. Lolly looks happy and makes sounds like cats “gorogoro” …

Lolly playing with national park staff. She gets to eat 3 kg of meat every day. Mainly of sheep, goats, and yaks.

How long will Lolly stay in this cage? Why it cannot be returned back to the wild?

At that time, the staff of this check post was telling us some ideal plan for Lolly that, when Leo comes back from the United States both Lolly and Leo will be shifted to Naltar Valley and will try for breeding.

Unfortunately, this is Pakistan, it does not go as planned. Lolly has been moved to the Naltar Valley, but Leo did not come back from US.

Finally, this is a photo of Leo when he was small. Photo with Mr. Sultan Gohar in Khunjerab National Park. (Photo courtesy of Khunjerab National Park)

It’s a pity that it’s not wild. Still, it’s something for a big cat’s lover !

Photo: Mariko    Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Photo of Leo & Sultan Gohar: Credits to Mr. Sultan Gohar – KNP (Khunjerab National Park)
Observation: **Captive condition in cage** Oct 2015, Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan
Reference: Mr.Sultan Gohar – KNP,  Mr. Farman Razah – KVO

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Khunjerab National Park > - Snow Leopard (in Captivity)
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-3

A top view of the Chandragup Mud Volcano, Hingol National Park. This mud volcano has been recognized as a holy place by Hindus. In fact, a lot of Hindu pilgrimage visit this volcano. However, it was surprising to see rubbish lying around the mud volcano.

The current number of Hindus in Pakistan is said to be about 4 million, of which about 93% live in Sindh. There are few Hindus in Balochistan province, but during the pilgrimage season, the Chandragup Mud Volcano and Hindu temples in Hingol National Park are full of pilgrims.

Mud spout on top of the Chandragup mud volcano. The appearance of mud spouting occurs every 1-2 minutes when active, but sometimes it is completely absent.
Sometimes we can see “Offering” by Hindu pilgrimage on the surface of a mud volcano.

It was a bit cloudy during this day, but the sunlight spread on the other mud volcano was looking very gorgeous.

Sunset over the Chandragup Mud Volcano.

Photo: Mariko  **Some photos are taken by a drone
Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Special Thanks: Yoko Kadonaga for photography of spout on top of Chandragup Mud Volcano
Visit: Feb 2019, Chandragup Mud Volcano, Hingol National Park, Makran Coast, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-2

“Chandragup Mud Volcano”, located on the coast of Balochistan with a distant view of the Arabian Sea. It is also a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site and a mud volcano that has been known for a long time.

A mud volcano is a landform created by the eruption of mud, water, and gases. It’s called “volcano” but it is not necessarily related to the typical volcanic activity. It only erupts out mud along with methane gas.

The mud volcano in Balochistan was reported to exist in 1840, but the survey began to take place after the earthquake in 1945. At that time, the coast of Balochistan was severely damaged by an earthquake. During this period, the mud volcano also got activated.

The Arabian Plate subducts into the Eurasian Plate in the coastal area of Balochistan. In many cases, volcanic activity is active in such places but in the case of Balochistan, huge “mud volcano area” has emerged.

There are two other mud volcanoes near Chandragup Mud Volcano. This mud volcano was slightly active in November 2018 but has been inactive since then.

An Inactive mud volcano, in the immediate vicinity of Chandragup Mud Volcano. This is an aerial shot which I took through drone, but it looks beautiful from the top of Chandragup Mud Volcano.

Exceptionally looking view of Chandragup Mud Volcano during sunset.

Photo: Mariko **all photography taken by a drone
Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Visit: Nov 2019, Hingol National Park, Makran Coast, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-1

Hingol National Park, located in the southern part of Balochistan. It is spread over a vast area of 6,100 square kilometers and is the largest National park in Pakistan. There are roads and villages inside the national park. For me, I feel it undistinguishable setting as a National park. However, the landscape covering the whole of the National park is astonishing and somewhat out of this earth.

We entered from the gate which leads to the sacred Nani Mandir Hindu temple. What a breathtaking view it is! The village is dotted and engraved in the inexplicable landscape created by the mud volcano.

Some people living beneath the superb view…The mysterious scenery shaped by the mud volcano spread throughout the frame.

Photo : Mariko  Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Visit: March 2019, Hingol National Park, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park
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Pakistan Bikers – Balochistan

Pakistan Bikers – Balochistan | パキスタンバイカーズ – バロチスタン

This is my 2nd video made for Balochistan. In Feb 2019, I had the chance to travel with Pakistan Bikers to Balochistan.
No doubt, Balochistan is a paradise for motorbike adventure lovers.
Thanks to Mr. Yousaf, Mr. Rizwan and Mr. Aziz for being model for the clip!

Videography : Mariko Sawada, Aziz Rasool

visit of Balochistan : Feb 2019 with Saiyah & Pakistan Bikers team

Category : # Balochistan > ** Pakistan Bikers > ** Video clip of Balochistan
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True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan video clip

True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan

This is my first video made for Balochistan.
Things I’ve seen … magnificent landscapes, lively creatures, and the lives of people portraying their wonderful culture and tradition.
Thanks to Mr. Yousaf, who arranged this amazing trip for me and also advised me about this great song by Akhtar Chanal.

Videography : Mariko Sawada

Visit of Balochistan : Nov 2019, with Saiyah team

Music Courtesy : Coke Studio, Akhtar Chanal

Category : # Balochistan > ** Video clip of Balochistan
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Pied Avocet –Soon Valley

A flock of Pied Avocets observed in Uchhali Lake, Soon Valley.
Pied Avocet breeds in Europe and Central Asia and travels to Africa and South Asia in the winter season.
In Pakistan, Pied Avocet’s wintering starts on the Indus river basin, lakes, wetlands, and the Arabian Sea coast. Breeding has also been observed in the lagoons of Balochistan coast.

We could not observe it nearby, but its characteristic feathers; black and white wing and the long beak that had warped, and the gray leg, it was undoubtedly a Pied Avocet.

A person in the background herding camels and Pied Avocet in the foreground… It was a very unique and gorgeous view of nature and people together.

Photo: MARIKO  Text: MARIKO & SAROSH
Observation: end of March 2019, Uchhali Lake, Soon Valley, Punjab
Reference: Birds of Pakistan, Birds of the Indian Subcontinents (Helm Field Guides)

Category : # Punjab > ** Birds of Pakistan > - Pied Avocet > - Soon Valley
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Greater Flamingo in sunset – Soon Valley

We visited Uchhali Lake located in Soon Valley, from Islamabad. The trip’s duration was 1 night and 2 days.
Blessed with the weather, we were able to observe the Greater Flamingos in the gorgeous evening golden light.

Northern Shoveler and Greater Flamingo.

Greater Flamingos flying on a sparkling golden lake’s surface.

Greater Flamingos on the lake’s shore.

Greater Flamingos taking off.

A flock of Greater flamingos flying above Uchhali Lake.

As soon as the sunset, the flamingos became a silhouette. We were so excited to photograph these birds until the dark. If you really want to capture the true beauty of flamingos, then the golden hour is the best time.
No doubt, it was a very lovely day at Uchhali Lake.

Photo: MARIKO  Text: MARIKO & SAROSH
Observation: end of March 2019, Uchhali Lake, Soon Valley, Punjab
Reference: Birds of Pakistan, Birds of the Indian Subcontinents (Helm Field Guides)

Category : # Punjab > ** Birds of Pakistan > - Greater Flamingo > - Soon Valley
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Pakistan & India Border Flag Ceremony 

Pakistan & India Border Flag Ceremony

On 16th March 2019, Saturday … when tensions between Indian & Pakistan escalated, luckily I had the chance to attend the Wagha flag ceremony.
I’ve been witnessing this ceremony several times, though this one was the best ceremony in my lifetime.

Videography : Mariko Sawada,  Yousaf Akhtar

Visit of Wagha : March 2019 with Saiyah team

Category : # Punjab > ** Video clip of Punjab > - Wagha border
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