Ladakh literally “the land of high passes” situated on the northern most frontier of India.The extravaganza of nature’s beauty can be experienced in Ladakh.This magnificent high altitude plateau consists of snow capped mountains, amazing landscape,turquoise lakes, magnum rivers flowing through the rugged grey valley , endemic wildlife and wonderful spiritual people.Ladakh is a must visit destination for nature and wildlife lovers.
Ladakh, situated on the west of Kashmir and South of Himalachal Pradesh in India, falls under the state of Jammu & Kashmir and bordered by Tiibet and Pak occupied Kashmir . River Indus, the lifeline of Ladakh, bisects the plateau. Leh, the capital of Ladakh situated on the bank of this graceful aquamarine river.
Situated at an altitude of 3524 metres (11562 ft), Leh is the gateway to get the glimpses of extraordinary natural beauty and amazing wildlife.
A wetland adjacent to Shey Palace is a haven for birds. Birds like Hume’s lesser white-throat , Hume’s short-toed lark,common rosefinch, , blue rock thrush, common coot Eurasian hobby, booted eagle, blue throat, common tern, plain mountain finch, rock bunting and nemourus other birds can be seen in this place.
Changthang Cold Dessert Sanctuary:
Situated on the South East of Leh, the average altitude of this sanctuary is 5000 mts, this is the Ladakh’s portion of the Great Tibetan Pleateau.This region is inhabited by nomads called Changpas .Changthang is the major wildlife area in Ladakh, most of the wildlife concentration is around three lakes, namely Tsomoriri, Tsokar and Pangong.
Tsomoriri the magnificent high altitude lake is one of the biggest and highest lakes in the Himalaya.It is surrounded by the hills and snow capped mountain, situated at a distance of 230 kms from Leh at an altitude of 4595 meters, the lake is 25 km long and 6-7 km wide .This is the breeding ground for Bar headed geese, great crested grebe, Brown headed gull Gulls, Ruddy shelduck. Some of the other birds birds found here are Common teal, Sand plover, Common terns. Horned-lark, Red Billed Chough, Tibetan Snow finch, Crag Martin.This lake is under Tsomororiri Conservation reserve and a Ramsar site.Among the mammlas Kiang, Bhoral, Wolf, Red Fox, Lynx , Marmots are common here
The brakish lake of Tsokar is under Tsomoriri conservation reserve. Previously nomad changpas used to extract salt and trade it in exchange of necessities. The lake is fed by streams . The wetland around the lake is the breeding ground of endangered Black necked Cranes. Kiangs are common here, tobetan wolf, red fox, ladakh pikas are common here.This lake is also under Tsomoriri conservation reserve.
This endorheic lake situated at an altitude of 4350 meters .The lake is 134 km long and about 5 km wide on the broadest point. About 40 % of the lake is in India, rest 60 % falls under Tibet and China. This trans boundary wetland is a Ramsar site of international importance. This magnificent lake is located in a scenic backdrop. this is an important breeding ground Brown headed gulls , Brahmini ducks etc.Merganser , Great crested Greeb are other notable birds here.
Nubra Valley is located on the other side of Kahrdungla aat about a distance of 150 km. In Nubra valley Shyok River meets Nubra or Siachen river and formed a large valley . The average altitude of this valley is 3300 meters.Vegetation and cultivation fields are found along the river, otherwise this is a high altitude dessert. Notable birds are Chukars, Himalayan Snow Cock. Rose finches are found around Hunder . Marmot and Blue sheep’s are the common mammals here. Bactrian camels are found in the sand dunes of Hunder.
Hemis National Park:
A High altitude National Park,and the largest notified protected area in India. The park is bounded on the north by the banks of the Indus River, and includes the cachements of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak, and parts of the Zanskar Range. The dry forest of Hemis National park consists of juniper, Populus - Salix forests, subalpine dry birch ,fir are present at lower altitudes.The key species in this park is endangered Snow Leopards, this is home of about 200 Snow Leopards. Among other mammals Great Tibetan sheep, Blue Sheep,Ladakhi Urial, Asiatic Ibex. Himalayan Marmot, Mountain Weasel,Red fox etc are found here.
16 species of mammals and 73 species of birds have been recorded in the park,Notable birds are Golden Eagle, Lammergeier,Himalayan Griffon,Brown Accentor, Robin Accentor, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Streaked Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, Chukar, Fork-tailed Swift, Red-billed Chough, Himalayan Snowcock, Fire-fronted Serin etc.
Zaskar is the sub district of Kargil District, located on the eastern part of Jammu and Kashmir district, it covers an area of 7000 meters along Zaskar river and her tributaries, within the altitude between 3200 meters to 7000 meters.Vegetationis found along the bank of the river. Himalayan flowers like Edelweiss and Blue Poppies sprinklecolors in the grey valley during the spring.
Long tailed marmot, Brown Bear, Alpine Ibex, Kiang are the notable wildlife in this area.