John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil
Shimshal Natural Resources Program
|Nature Table 1: Passes in Areas Not Under Permanent Snow Cover|
|Name of Pass||Elevation (in metres)|
The Hispar Muztagh range, which separates the Shimshal region from Nagyr and Baltistan, has many high peaks, including Destughil Sar (7885 metres), the highest peak in all Hunza, Nagyr, and Gojal. Other major summits of the range are:
|Nature Table 2: Major Peaks in the Hispar Muztagh|
|Name of Peak||Elevation (in metres)|
|Pamiri (Pumori) Chhish||7492|
Above Shimshal village itself rises beautiful Adver Sar (also known as Shimshal White Horn), an unclimbed summit of approximately 6500 metres.
Descending from the snowcapped summits of the Shimshal region are many large glaciers. Among the more well-known are: Avdegar; Lupgar; Momhil; Mulungutti; Yazghil; Shungditk; Yukshin Garden; Khurdopin; Virjerab; Braldu; Wesem; Spey; Dih Dest; Chafchingol; Bari Yaz Paras; Shuijerav Dest; Shuwerth; and Waliyo. Two high glaciated passes cross the Hispar Muztagh range: Lukpe La or Braldu Pass (about 5700 metres), which crosses from the Braldu Glacier to the Sim Glacier and Lukpe Lawo (Snow Lake); and Khurdopin Pass (5790 metres), which crosses from the Khurdopin Glacier to Lukpe Lawo.
Brown Bear (Ursus arctos; nogordum in Wakhi) - Bears occasionally enter the Shimshal region from adjacent Chinese Turkestan. Bears feed on grasses, berries, roots, and small animals. During winter, they are largely inactive and hibernate in caves. In the spring, they emerge, typically quite hungry, and remain active until the start of winter.
Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes; shapt in Wakhi) - Wolves also enter the Shimshal region from Chinese Turkestan. These carnivores prey on wild ungulates, small mammals, and also on domestic livestock. They inflict the largest loss on domestic livestock of any predator.
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia; pes in Wakhi) - Snow leopards, a rare animal throughout its range in the high mountains of Asia, inhabit the entire Shimshal region, though their numbers are small. Snow leopards are also carnivores, and prey on small animals and wild ungulates. They also occasionally prey on domestic livestock.
Himalayan Ibex (Capra ibex sibirica; yuksh (male) and merg (female) in Wakhi) - Ibex are found throughout the Shimshal region at high elevations. They are extremely agile climbers and belong to the goat family. Males exhibit a great range of seasonal altitudinal movement; females and immature ibex do not move to the same heights as males.
Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur; ramapoi in Wakhi) - Blue sheep are most abundant in the Pamir region, but are also found in Chat Pirt and Ghujerav. Although they are called sheep, they actually exhibit characteristics of both sheep and goats, and hence are classified between true sheep and true goats. Blue sheep are not as agile as ibex, and are typically found on more open and grassy areas. Blue sheep range throughout Nepal, Tibet, and Indian high mountain regions, and Shimshal is the western extent of their range.
Tibetan Wild Ass (Equus hemionus kyiang; kulan in Wakhi) - This member of the horse family occasionally visits the Shimshal region along the Muztagh River from Chinese Turkestan.
Cape Hare (Lepus capensis; sui in Wakhi) - The Cape Hare, a type of rabbit, is extremely common in the Shimshal region. Although the heavy 1990 rain and snowfall reduced their number, their population has increased steadily since then. They are significant pests in newly cultivated areas, where they damage crops and young trees.
Tibetan Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes montana; nakchir in Wakhi) - Fox are also widely found in the Shimshal region. They have large annual litters of as many six kits.
Wild Dog or Dhole (Cuon alipnus; kitk in Wakhi) - Dhole is a member of the dog family. It has not been observed in the Shimshal region for about 15 years. It has a black face. It is more common in Chinese Turkestan. Although it has not been properly classified, it may be the animal known commonly as wild dog. The reasons for its current absence in the Shimshal region are not known.
Vole (Alticola roylei; purk in Wakhi) - This small rodent is found year-round in every home and house in Shimshal, and in shepherd's homes in summer pastures. Its full name is Royle's High Mountain Vole.
White ermine/Alpine Weasel (Mustela erminea/Mustela altaica; mol frinjin Wakhi) - This is a long-bodied, long-tailed small mammal. It frequently inhabits caves. In Shimshal, it is also called mergitch peritch in Wakhi. It has a rodent-like snout, thick brown fur, and its body is about one foot in length. Its tail is black-tipped. Its brown fur molts to white in the fall and winter. It preys on voles, small birds, and crows.
Pika (Ochotona macrotis; shashk in Wakhi) - This large-eared, tailless animal burrows among rocks in the alpine and sub-alpine areas. Its thick fur protects it from the cold. Although this animal looks like a rodent, it is actually classified with rabbits and hares.
Birds (tapinisht in Wakhi) of the Shimshal region are of two types: migratory birds and permanent year-round birds.
Insects include both flying and non-flying varieties. All insects have six legs, whereas spiders have eight legs. Common flying insects include: bee; butterfly (chelmindok); fly (maks); flying ant; and moth. Common non-flying insects include: ant (mirprich); bed bug (khavzut); black beetle (lal beg); lice (shish); termite; tick (kuwind); ? (dodog); ? (ozankarch); ? (bicchu); and various plant pests. Several varieties of spiders are common to Shimshal.
Shimshal lies in an arid climate zone. The high Karakoram mountains prevent most of the summer monsoon rains of South Asia from reaching Shimshal. Most precipitation falls as snow above 5000 metres. Hence, there are no significant forests in the Shimshal region. Stands of ancient, slow-growing juniper are found in certain areas favorable to their growth, but these are not extensive. Most vegetation occurs along side streams. Wildflowers and grasses are abundant in alpine pastures as snow melts. All cultivation in the Shimshal region is dependent upon irrigation.
The lists are not necessarily complete inventories of all mammals, birds, insects and or and plants found in the Shimshal region. Any additions, corrections, or suggestions are welcome.
|Livestock Table 1: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Population|
|Calf (new-born) *||85||99||184|
|Kid (new-born) *||354||383||737|
|Lamb (new-born) *||229||237||466|
* Also indicates the total number of milk producers in 1995.
According to the 1994 data, there were 842 yaks. In 1995, this number increased by 118, or 14%, to 960. The average number of yaks per household increased 0.35%. Compared to 1994 data, the total number of cows increased by only one, even though seven cows were purchased during the year. Disregarding the cows purchased in 1995, there was a net decrease of 2%. The total number of donkeys increased from 1994 to 1995. The average number of goats per household is almost double compared to sheep. Compared to 1994 statistics, the current total of sheep and goats has decreased significantly because the 1994 data was collected by students without supervision of teachers, increasing the probability of errors in the 1994 data, and some households inaccurately reported their 1994 livestock holdings. To resolve these problems in data collection in 1995, the responsibility for livestock data collection was given only to students of the DJ school, and a teacher supervised the data collection and accompanied the students to every household. Hence, the 1995 statistics are significantly more accurate than that of preceding years.
|Livestock Table 2: 1995 Shimshal Dairy Production|
|Production per day (per animal)||Production 15 May to 15 Oct|
|Animal||Total Animals||Average daily milk production per animal (litres)||Milk (litres)||Butter (kg)||Cheese (kg)||Milk (litres)||Butter (kg)||Cheese (kg)|
|Produced in Shimshal Pastures|
|Produced in Shimshal village|
It should be noted that the people of Shimshal depend heavily upon livestock for income and for survival. Without livestock, neither agriculture nor agricultural work would be possible. Animals numbers in Shimshal are the largest in Gojal tehsil and the average number of yaks, goats, and sheep per household is significantly greater than other Gojal villages. (2)
Actual pasture dairy production is more than what is shown on Livestock Table 2. Only those milk-producing animals are counted whose new-born young (calves, kids, and lambs) remained alive for a full year. Those animals were not counted that were giving milk for a second year, nor were those milk-giving animals counted whose young (i.e., calves, kids, and lambs) died.
|Livestock Table 3: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Sales|
|Animal||Total||Rate (Rs) per animal||Revenue (Rs)||Total Revenue (Rs)|
|Livestock Table 4: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Purchases|
|Animal||Total||Cost (Rs) per animal||Expense (Rs)||Total Expense (Rs)|
|Livestock Table 5: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Slaughtered (for household consumption)|
|Animal||Total||Value (Rs) per animal||Value (Rs)||Total Value (Rs)|
|Livestock Table 6: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Deaths|
|Animal||Total||Value (Rs) per animal||Value (Rs)||Total Value (Rs)|
Most livestock deaths result from starvation, which typically occurs in late winter or early spring when grass is covered by snow. All values for sale, purchase, slaughter and death of livestock are based on 1995 average market rates for Gojal.
|Livestock Table 7: 1995 Shimshal Livestock Population Changes (Value in Rs)|
|Animal||Sales (+)||Purchases (-)||Slaughtered (+)||Deaths (-)||Total|
|Livestock Table 8: 1995 Potential Shimshal Carpet (palos) & Coarse Woolen Cloth (CWC)/(pattu) Production|
|Animal||Age||Total Animals||Animal's hair per carpet||Carpet = yak/goat CWC = sheep||Rate (Rs) per carpet/roll of pattu||Total (Rs)|
Data in Livestock Table 8 represents potential production. Actual pattu production is significantly lower. Presently, apart from pattu weaving, wool is also used to fill quilts and for saddle pads for donkeys. The size of a typical carpet is two or 2.5 metres wide by five metres long; pattu is two feet wide by nine yards long.
Population data for 1994 and 1995 follows in Population Table 1 and Population Table 2. Statistics from 1994 are included to illustrate changes in population.
|Population Table 1: Shimshal Population as of December 31, 1994|
|Age Group||Male||Female||Total by age group||Total as % of total population|
|Adult (16 years or older)||289||264||553||53.53%|
|Child (15 years or younger)||227||253||480||46.47%|
|Total by gender||516||517||1033||-|
|Total as % of total population||49.95%||50.05%||-||100.00%|
|Population Table 2: Shimshal Population as of December 31, 1995|
|Age Group||Male||Female||Total by age group||Total as % of total population|
|Adult (16 years or older)||308||280||588||54.60%|
|Child (15 years or younger)||228||261||489||45.40%|
|Total by gender||536||541||1077||-|
|Total as % of total population||49.77%||50.23%||-||100.00%|
One change in Shimshal's population is the increase in the total number of females. In 1994, the total female population (517) was one greater than that of the total male population (516). In 1995, the total female population increased to 541 and became five greater than the total male population (536).
|Population Table 3: 1995 Shimshal Population by Age|
|Age Range||Male||Female||Total||% of total population|
|0 to 5 years||99||108||207||19.2%|
|6 to 10 years||63||82||145||13.5%|
|11 to 15 years||66||71||137||12.7%|
|16 to 20 years||59||57||116||10.8%|
|21 to 25 years||48||47||95||8.8%|
|26 to 30 years||40||34||74||6.9%|
|31 to 35 years||33||30||63||5.9%|
|36 to 40 years||30||29||59||5.5%|
|41 to 45 years||29||29||58||5.4%|
|46 to 50 years||21||17||38||3.5%|
|51 to 55 years||12||12||24||2.2%|
|56 to 60 years||10||18||28||2.6%|
|61 to 65 years||10||3||13||1.2%|
|66 to 70 years||10||1||11||1.0%|
|71 to 75 years||3||1||4||0.4%|
|76 to 80 years||2||1||3||0.3%|
|81 to 85 years||1||0||1||0.05%|
|86 to 90 years||0||1||1||0.05%|
One regrettable fact about the population is that elderly individuals are quite few in number. For example, the total number of individuals over 66 years is only 20, the total over 70 is only 9, the total over 80 is 2, and there is no one over the age of 90. The reasons for the lack of elderly individuals, and for individuals typically dying between the ages of 50 and 70 needs to be determined.
|Population Table 4: 1995 Shimshal Adult & Child Populations|
|Gender||Adult||Adults as % of Adult population||Child||Children as % of Child Population|
|Population Table 5: One-year change from 1994 to 1995 in Shimshal Adult & Child Populations|
|Adult (16 years or more)||Child (15 years or less)|
Despite the relatively even balance between the total male and female populations, a closer look indicates the following:
• The 1995 adult male population (308) is 28 greater, or 4.76% higher, than the 1995 adult female population (280). However, the 1995 child female population (261) is 33 greater, or 6.74% higher, than the 1995 child male population (228). If this trend continues, it may alter the societal balance between adult males and females in the future.
• The adult population (16 years or older) is only 54.60% of the total population, whereas the child population (15 years or younger) is a staggering 45.4% of the total population.
|Population Table 6: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Birth Rates|
|Birth Rate as % of total population||3.93%||4.94%||1.01%|
In 1995, the birth rate increased by 1.01% to 4.94%, which is over 2% above the already high national birth rate for Pakistan. Given this rate of increase, it is probable the birth rate will soon exceed 5%. Due to the birth rate increase and lack of resources in Shimshal, Shimshal's population cannot remain healthy. This uncontrolled growth rate inevitably will lead to a lack of progress in both the societal and educational spheres.
|Population Table 7: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Population by Birth Place|
|Location||Male||Female||Total||Male||Female||Total||One-year total change|
|Population Table 8: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Death Rates|
|Death Rate as % of total population||-||-||1.65%||-||-||1.02%||(0.63%)|
|Death Rate as % of adult & child populations||0.90%||2.50%||-||1.02%||1.02%||-||-|
The 0.63% decrease in the death rate as a percentage of the total population from 1994 to 1995 may be attributed to better availability of health care. This trend might be expected to continue because deaths usually occur due to illness and the poor standard of living. The resulting decrease in the elderly population is a cause for regret.
Based on the 1994 and 1995 birth and death rates, estimates of the total Shimshal population over the next 10 years project an overall increase in total population ranging from 20% to 32%.
|Population Table 9: 10-year Shimshal Population Projection|
|Population Table 10: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Marital Status|
Of the 11 couples married in 1995, 10 were between Shimshalis and one woman married a man from Chapursan. Of the 10 couples married in 1994, seven were between Shimshalis, two women married outside Shimshal village, and one man married a woman from Chapursan. In 1995, only one couple divorced. In the past, Shimshal's divorce rate has been higher than that of other villages in Gojal, but in 1995 it decreased dramatically.
|Population Table 11: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Residences|
|Total Outside Shimshal||81||18||98||9.5%||81||28||109||10.1%||11|
The tendency of people to seek a more peaceful environment outside of Shimshal, if examined, is similar to the preferences of people throughout the world to leave the village for the city (ie, rural to urban migration). Note the decrease in the number of individuals residing in Karachi from 1994 to 1995. In 1995, nine students failed examinations and returned from Karachi to Shimshal. Despite this, the overall percentage of those choosing to reside outside of Shimshal increased by 12, or 0.6%.
|Population Table 12: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Employment|
|Less Children 5 years or under||(94)||(105)||(199)||19.3%||(99)||(108)||(207)||19.2%||8|
|Less students (of any age) enrolled in school||(160)||(125)||(285)||27.6%||(150)||(113)||(263)||24.4%||(22)|
|Available Labor Pool||262||287||549||53.1%||287||320||607||56.4%||58|
|Occupations (of those individuals in available labor pool)|
|Total In Shimshal||246||257||503||91.6%||253||270||523||86.2%||20|
Carefully examining the employment statistics, it is evident that 94.06% of the total Shimshal population directly or indirectly depend on the village resources. Only 5.94% derive their revenue from sources outside Shimshal village.
In 1995, the number of salaried employees was 70, or 11.5% of the labor pool, most of whom work within the village.
The number of individuals working in Shimshal village increased from 503 in 1994 to 523 in 1995, This represents a decrease of 5.4% from 91.6% in 1994 to 86.2%, which illustrates rural to urban migration.
Although there is no shortage of natural resources in Shimshal, there is a lack of modern technical expertise through which these resources can be utilized. This expertise can only be acquired through education.
In these modern times, everyone is aware of the important of education. Without education, one cannot even dream of progress or development. Unfortunately, the prevailing circumstances in Shimshal are such that educated/literate individuals are the minority.
|Population Table 13: 1994 and 1995 Shimshal Educational Achievement|
Science is a vital tool in this modern era, yet in this field there are almost no students. Currently, out of the total student population, there are only six students enrolled in FSC and only one in BSC (Engineering). It is also worth noting that students usually fail and return to Shimshal. Should this trend continue, then the following poem by Iqbal will be true of Shimshalis.
Should our people's thoughtless state prevail, our funeral bath will come from Kabul, our coffin from Japan... (i.e., we won't even be able to bury our own dead).
The terms literate/educated and illiterate/uneducated are used interchangeably in the following charts. Literate/educated indicates those individuals who have completed 8th class (i.e., middle school). Literacy can be attained at an earlier age, however individuals who do not complete 8th class tend to forget how to read and write.
|Population Table 14: 1994 and 1995 Educational Status of Shimshal Children|
|Total Children in population||227||253||480||-||228||261||489||-||9|
|Less Children 5 years or under (ie, too young)||(94)||(105)||(199)||-||(99)||(108)||(207)||-||(8)|
|Potential number enrolled in school||133||148||281||100%||129||153||282||100%||1|
The total number of children of school age and enrolled in school decreased by 10, or 3.5% overall. Unfortunately, the number of female children of school age and not enrolled in school increased measurably by 7, from 42 to 49, representing a 6.0% increase from 11.4% in 1994 to 17.4% in 1995. Two apparent reasons for this unhealthy trend are: the inability or unwillingness to pay school fees for female children; and the parents' desire to keep the female children at home for household chores.
Shimshal Child Educational Rate (Children 15 years or younger)
Shimshal Literacy/Educational Rate (% of Total [Adult & Child] Population
Tourists visiting Shimshal during this period were from nine countries: Australia (2); Austria (5); France (1); Germany (11); Pakistan (3); Singapore (1); Switzerland (4); UK (5); and US (3).
2. Data for Morkhun and Hunza is from 1994 Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) documents.
3. A yak being bred for sale is not being used for work and has more value than other yaks.
4. In 1994 those who attended and failed were counted, whereas
in 1995 only those who attended and passed were counted (ie, those that failed were not
counted). This discrepancy accounts somewhat for the total decrease of 53.
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