Afghanistan Creates Super-Park

April 2, 2014

The Afghanistan Government recently created a national park, the second for the country, that covers the entire Wakhan District. The Wakhan National Park is home to the Marco Polo sheep seen here - a subspecies of argali sheep known for having the longest horns of any sheep.

In a recent declaration, the Afghanistan Government named the entire Wakhan District the country's second national park. As one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, the beautiful alpine grasslands and craggy mountains will provide protection for many vulnerable species, including the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, lynx and urial.

The huge protected area is about 25% bigger than Yellowstone National Park, ranging 4,200 square miles. In addition to protecting wildlife, the new super-park will provide livelihoods and improved services for the people that live in this isolated region. As one of the last truly wild places on the planet, the Afghanistan Government is proud of the park as a step for conservation, and as an instrument of peace and tolerance.

WCS has worked in Afghanistan since 2006 providing technical support in preparation for today's announcement. “With all of the uncertainty facing Afghanistan,” said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper, “the news declaring Wakhan District as a national park is heartening. This declaration by the Government of Afghanistan will help the people living in this extremely remote area by providing jobs connected to the park and will offer protection to endangered wildlife and key watersheds and landscapes. WCS welcomes this pivotal move by the Afghanistan Government, and we are committed to continuing helping the people and wildlife of the Wakhan.”

Read the press release >>
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