Most of today's vistors to the Pamirs are interested in the environment and particularly
the fauna and flora of the region. I have therefore decided to include a Wildlife section, providing links to
websites and blogs with relevant information. I am indebted to Jean-Marc Gayman, initiator
of two expeditions to the Pamirs by the French Lepidopterists Association, for the idea
of creating this section.
Wildlife is threatened in the Pamirs: not only the well-known large mammals, such as the
snow leopard (see the site of the Snow Leopard Conservancy below) and the Marco Polo sheep
(Ovis Poli), but also and certainly more surreptitiously the extraordinary butterflies
of the Pamirs (see the stunning photos on the website of the French Lepidopterists
on the links under Butterflies below). They report evidence that the population of Parnassius Autocrator, found only
in the Pamirs (and there only in three locations) and in North-Eastern Afghanistan
has been almost totally destroyed by commercial poaching.
Parnassius Autocrator female, E. Pamirs, Sasyk (photo : A. Zhdanko)
In a remarkable local initiative, former hunters have begun to create nature conservancies
in and around their villages - see
For further reading I recommend highly, of course, the Odyssey book
Tajikistan and the High Pamirs - A Companion and Guide, published in June 2008,
which contains the following chapters:
Birding Tajikistan by William Lawrence (page 245)
Butterflies of Tajikistan by Jean-François Charmeux and Jean-Marc Gayman (page 247).
N.B. The three first links under Butterflies below describe expeditions by Jean-François,
Jean-Marc and their lepidopterist colleagues in France.
Flora of Tajikistan by Peter Cunnington (page 250)
Birds and Mammals in the Eastern Pamirs by George Schaller (page 652)
The Snow Leopard: Phantom of the High Mountains by Rodney Jackson (page 654)
The illustrations below are from the work of Nicolai Alexseyevich Severtsov (1827-1885),
the Russian scientist: his expedition to the Pamirs in 1878 brought back specimens of 20,000
plants (representing some 1,000 different species), 60 mammals, 350 birds and 20
The listing below is by no means complete and if your website/blog
is not here, or if you know of another useful site, please contact me at the e-mail address on the
The residents of the the beautiful village of Bachor (in Shughnan - one of
the starting points for trekking to Sarez) are working to protect
local wildlife with the support of the Snow Leopard Conservancy.
For information on wildlife in and around Bachor see
The Mountain Ungulates Project in Tajikistan, operative since 2008, has recently
opened a website describing its activities for the protection of wildlife in Tajikistan,
in particular the Marco Polo sheep (Ovis Polis): see
here. The project is implemented by the Tajik NGO
"Nature Protection Team" with support from the Zoological Society for the Conservation
of Species and Populations (ZGAP, Germany) and GTZ's Regional Programme "Sustainable
Use of Nature Resources in Central Asia". The project is supported by a wildlife
management expert provided by the "Centre for International Migration and Development" (CIM).
Congratulations to Stéphane Henriod, Stefan Michel and their team.
Photo Stefan Michel
Links on endangered species:
And some magical footage from the second German TV channel ZDF
Marco Polo sheep (Ovis Poli)
All text and
photographs (c) Robert Middleton 2002
Web master Romanyuk