Wildlife In Ladakh

Ladakh, undoubtedly, is a unique wildlife destination, which boasts of being home to a number of exotic animals as well as bird species roaming freely in their natural habitat. You can witness a huge variety of flora and fauna.

Ladakh, undoubtedly, is a unique wildlife destination, which boasts of being home to a number of exotic animals as well as bird species roaming freely in their natural habitat. You can witness a huge variety of flora and fauna. It also has some rare and endangered species of animals. The region of Ladakh with a unique ecosystem gives an opportunity of a wildlife as well as a photography enthusiast to view some rare and most beautiful wildlife species with a striking background of the snowy peaks.

The list of wild animal species of the region is quite long which includes some endangered species too. You can spot Yaks, ibex, Tibetan hare, Blue sheep, wild ass, Bharal, Marmot, the Tibetan antelope, also called the Chiru and the Snow Leopard etc. This region is home to as many as 310 species of avifauna which are inclusive of types like Golden Eagle, Lamagier, Wall creeper, Rock Bunting, Black necked crane, Himalayan Snowcock and so on.

In the northern Himalayas, Hemis National Park is considered as a protected area and is a popular national parks in India. This national park is one of the largest in India and second largest in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Hemis provides shelter to various conserved and endangered species. The major attraction of the park that flocks wildlife enthusiasts from all across the globe is a considerable population of snow leopards. The total area of the Hemis National Park is covered under the Palearctic Ecozone.

Fast Facts

  • Major Attraction - Snow Leopard
  • Established - 1981
  • Total Area - 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq mi)
  • Nearest Airport - Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (5 km)
  • Nearest Railhead - Kalka (Haryana)
  • Nearest Highway - Leh-Manali Highway and National Highway 1D (Srinagar - Kargil - Leh)
  • Nearest City - Leh (10 km)
  • Nearest Town - There are a few villages, and Monasteries (Gumphas) in the national park

Ladakh is also home to some beautiful and rear birds like the critically endangered black necked crane. Bar headed geese, woodpeckers, ducks, partridges, barbets, kingfishers, parakeets, swifts eagle, owls to name a few are some birds commonly seen in Ladakh. This rich rather exclusive wildlife however, is severely threatened by habitat loss and poaching

The only area that represents India's 'Trans Himalayan' area, its cold desert environment and harsh climatic conditions preserve wildlife that have adapted to the extremes of the climatic conditions prevailing there. With the ecosystem being affected, wildlife in Leh-Ladakh has undergone changes. They thrive on sparse vegetation, poor shelter, rocky terrain and bitter cold. Many animals migrate to lower regions in winter while animals like brown bear and marmots, choose to hibernate. Wildlife Sanctuaries in Leh - Ladakh preserve the fast declining animal species. Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary of Ladakh has some rare species of wildlife that are well preserved.

Changthang is at the northern plains at an elevation of 4000m. The extremely harsh and dry weather leaves the rangelands non cultivable. The general topography of Changthang is rugged and consists of marshy and sandy plains on tablelands and surrounded by mountains. Yet Changthang sustains diversity of wildlife species and medicinal plants.

Extreme military activity in the year 1962 had greatly disturbed the ecology and wildlife of Changthang. About 4000km of the Changthang area was approved for the wildlife sanctuary in 1987 to protect its unique flora and fauna. The Changthang Wildlife Sancutary was not within tourism since it was close to China borders but since 1994 tourists are taken to areas around Pangong Tso and Tso Morari lakes. Kiangs face serious threats to survival because of the military activity as well as tourism. Found in the open sandy tablelands the Kiangs live in herds and eat sturdy grasses. The Changthang Wildlife Sancutary is home to a large number Tibetan wild ass, the black-necked crane and the bar-headed geese that are endangered.

At a spectacular height of 4,600 meters in the outer Himalayas with peaks ranging from 5,800 to 7,600 meters, Ladakh the mysterious land of passes with unexplored beauty lies with its unique pack of wildlife species. If you are on a rendezvous to Leh and Ladakh and want to catch a glimpse of its Wildlife, you can see its shaggy looking yaks, nyans, the Great Tibetan sheep, fast dwindling urials or shapus and bharal or the blue sheep in the Leh and Ladakh region.