In an earlier article, we told you about the National Flowers of the SAARC countries. SAARC is the abbreviation of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. This Association comprising of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives was founded in 1963 with an aim of the development of the socio economics along with education and technology in this region. SAARC has also defined the other areas of working in its charter that include agriculture and rural, biotechnology, culture, energy, environment, economy and trade, finance, funding mechanism, human resource development, poverty alleviation, people to people contact, security aspects, social development, science and technology, communications, and tourism.
Like many other countries of the world, the SAARC countries have also classified their national animals. The motive behind this is to create the awareness for the protection of the rare and endemic animal species in their respective areas. The National Animals of the SAARC countries are as under ;
1- Markhor : The National Animal of Pakistan
Markhor , the national animal of Pakistan, a large specie of wild goat is an indigenous mammal of Afghanistan , Pakistan ( Gilgit Baltistan , Hunza Nagar Valleys and Kashmir regions ) , some parts of North India , Southern Tajikistan and Southern Uzbekistan. The Markhor is biologically known as Capra falconeri a noun which literally means “large Himalayan goat with large spiraled horns”.
2- Bengal Tiger : The National Animal of India and Bangladesh
Bengal Tiger, the beautiful big cat of South Asia is scientifically known as Panthera tigris tigris and it is famous for its unique light orange coat and dark brown stripes. Although it not the biggest big cat of the world, yet it is a huge animal which might weigh up to 600 pounds. Bengal Tiger has a very elegant body structure with the legs that are slender. Bengal Tiger is also known as the ” Royal Bengal Tiger ” and it is the national animal of both India and Bangladesh.
3- COW: The National Animal of Nepal
Cow is the national animal of Nepal. This domesticated ungulate which is raised as livestock for meat and milk has so much significance in India and Nepal. Most of the Hindus living in Nepal believe the Cow as the goddess of wealth (Goddess Laxmi). They worship the Cow and the killing of Cow is strongly prohibited in Nepal. The Cow belongs to the class Mammalia and the family Bovidae scientifically.
4- Takin : The National Animal of Bhutan
Takin is a large goat like antelope which is the national animal of Bhutan. Takins are found from forested valleys to rocky, grass covered alpine zones, at altitudes of between 1,000 and 4,500 metres above sea level. The coat of Takin consists of thick golden wool and that’s why they are also considered the relatives of sheep. Takin has also small horns which run parallel to the skull. The scientific name of Takin is Budorcas taxicolor.
5- Snow Leopard: National Animal of Afghanistan
Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia) is one of the rarest specie of big cats existing in the world. It is found between 3,000 and 5,500 meters above sea level in the high and snowy mountain ranges of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia,Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Snow Leopard is the national animal of Afghanistan.
* The other two countries from SAARC , Sri Lanka and Maldives have not officially declared any national animal ( Mammal ).