Ladakh is a unique high altitude desert in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the driest regions in the Indian Himalayas. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, experiences an average of only 110mm of rainfall per year and heavy snowfalls are rare. Ladakh’s position to the northeast of the Himalaya Range isolates it from the Indian monsoon. However, areas to the south of the Indus Valley and closer to the Himalaya Range experience a higher rainfall. Padum, in the Zanskar Valley, is subject to the occasional heavy storm that surges over the Himalaya Range in July and August, while in winter the heavy snowfalls block the passes to the rest of Ladakh. Ladakh is also the highest region in India, with elevations rarely below 3000m and often above 3500m.
WILDLIFE OF LADAKH
Bharal also known as the Himalayan Blue Sheep is a type of goat sheep found in the high Himalayas of Nepal,Tibet,China,Bhutan,Pakistan and India. In India, you may encounter Bharals while trekking across the region of Ladakh on the Markha Valley or Stok La treks.
Ibex are a species of wild goats found in the high Himalayas.
Urial is a subspecies group of a wild sheep Ovis orientalis.
Ibex and Urials may be seen from a distance in the more sheltered valleys in the Ladakh region. The best time to view these species is October. Schedule time in the vicinity of the high passes (for bharal) and in the remote valleys (for ibex and urial).
Snow Leapards are a moderately large cats which are native to the high mountain ranges of Central Asia.If you have ambitions to see a snow leopard, Ladakh and the Zanskar have the largest concentration in the West Himalayas. About two decades ago two eminent naturalists from Delhi spent two winters in Ladakh before recording their first photos of the snow leopard at the head of the Markha Valley.
Lynx is a medium sized wildcat with a short tail and black tipped ears found in Eurasia and North America. The lynx, is as elusive as the Snow Leapard and preys mostly on Bharal.
Wild yaks are a long haired species of Bovids found in the Himalayan Region of South Central Asia, Tibet and up to Mongolia and Russia. In Ladakh they are found in the vast open plateaus of Chang-chenmo.
Kiang are the largest species of wild asses in the world native to the Tibetan plateau and are found in the remote regions of Rupshu and Changtang.
Brown bears may be sighted in the remote valleys in the vicinity of Rangdum and areas of the Zanskar Valley. This is also the habitat of marmots whose shrill whistles alert other wildlife when danger approaches.
Birdlife of Ladakh (Wildlife Of Ladakh)
The birdlife of Ladakh includes many species that migrate from the Indian subcontinent to central Asia in the summer. They include black-necked cranes, which breed in the lakes of eastern Ladakh. The citrine wagtail is another summer visitor, as is the horned lark, which is attracted to the vast high-altitude meadows. Large flocks of grandala also favour high-altitude meadows, as do streaked and great rosefinches and common ravens.
Tibetan partridges, snowcocks and chukars can be found in the scant high-altitude undergrowth.This is also the habitat of lammergeiers, while golden eagles prey on marmots, pikas and even small goats. Himalayan griffons, with their distinctive upturned wings, may be seen searching for prey high above the scant pastures, a habitat shared by another bird of prey – the merlin. Tibetan snowfinches and black-billed magpies are common in the villages of Ladakh.While white-tailed rubycoats are found alongside the mountain streams.