尼勒姆山谷是少數還看得到黑頭角雉（western tragopan pheasant）繁衍的地方。艷紅的脖子配上黑白斑點的羽毛，黑頭角雉簡直就是絕世尤物。
Pakistan has initiated a massive hydropower project in its administrative part of Kashmir without fulfilling basic environmental obligations required for such development projects.
Contemporary international environmental laws and standards bind all governments and their publics to conduct environmental impact assessments and ecological surveys for all major projects to achieve the goal of sustainable development.
Regardless, Pakistan's Water And Power Development Authority has started the construction of the US$2.16 billion Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Project in the remote and scenic Neelum Valley, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad, without an environmental impact assessment.
The 969 megawatt project will divert the Neelum River, also called the Kishangana, which originates in the Indian part of Kashmir. The Neelum will flow through a 47 kilometer-long underground tunnel system to another river, the Jehlum, near Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Chinese, Norwegian and Pakistani firms are all involved in the project, estimated to take eight years to build. Once completed, the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Project would be the first underground hydropower project of its kind in Pakistan.
The builders insist that the project does not pose any threats to the area's ecological system, as an initial study conducted in the 1990s had suggested "limited environmental impacts of the project."
On the other hand, local ecologists contradict these claims of the WAPDA authorities.
Yet there is a great demand for the power the project would produce. Today, 40 percent of Pakistan's population lives without electricity, and the country is facing a severe energy crisis. In some areas the power is out for 16 hours a day, paralyzing the national economy and residents' daily routines.
The hastily initiated Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Project is part of the government's attempt to alleviate the huge shortfall in meeting energy demand. Sustainable development and public concerns are being ignored in the government's rush to find new sources of power.
The scenic Neelum Valley is inhabited by rare species on the verge of extinction. The world famous Kashmiri otter is now rarely seen in the valley, and ibex, blue sheep, big horned sheep, snow leopards, and flying squirrel are increasingly rare.
The valley is one of the few sites where a breeding population of the western tragopan pheasant, Tragopan melanocephalus, still exists. With its brilliant red neck and black and white speckled plumage, the tragopan pheasant is one of the most magnificent in the world.
Other birds such as quills, partridges, vultures, kites, and eagles abound. A rich variety of ducks, geese, cranes, terns and waterfowl still nest in the valley's wetlands, lakes and streams, and the loss of forest and fresh water there is great threat to their habitat.
Residents fear the local economy will suffer because of the hydro development. In Kashmir, 88 percent of the population lives in rural areas and depends upon forestry, livestock and agriculture for their existence. Water from these rivers and nearby natural springs is a major source for drinking water and irrigation water for farmlands located along the banks.
Critics say the river systems should be thoroughly studied together with agencies that have jurisdiction over electricity, irrigation, fisheries and the environment as well as local authorities during the planning and implementation stages of this project.