Ladakh being a unique settlement has some unique species of animals, mammals, and birds in its vicinity. Sprawling across the entire union territory, Ladakh’s wildlife has a great impact on the visitors as they get a lot of amazing and rare species of fauna to witness here. The fauna of Ladakh shares a lot of similarities that are seen in Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau. Be it the terrestrial fauna or aerial; Ladakh has a lot of options to offer. There are majorly 318 species of birds and a number of animals and mammals too.
Here are some highlights to note down so that when you visit here you can spot them and click a few pictures. And if you are a bird watcher then also you have a long list of amazing bird species, some of which are not to be found anywhere.
List of Animals and Mammals in Ladakh (Wildlife in Ladakh)
1. Snow Leopard
Needless to say, Snow Leopards are one of the most exclusive species of animals found in the upper regions of the Himalayas and Ladakh. After being an endangered species, the snow leopard project launched by the Indian government has given them a lot of support.
As a result, they are quite good in number now. A lot of people go to the Hemis National Park to spot this rare species of wild cats.
2. Himalayan Marmot
Actually, there are two species of Marmot that are found in the Himalayas. This is one of the two species that are found in the Himalayan Range. Trekkers often come across this animal while trekking at an altitude between 4000m and 5000m.
3. Asiatic ibex
This is a natural mammal that lives in the high-altitude regions of Ladakh. It remains inactive during the day but gets alive in the nighttime. Whenever there is a snowfall, this mammal can be spotted even in the day. It has strong, sharp, and thick horns to protect itself from the enemy and the thick fur keeps it warm even if the temperature goes down to negative.
4. Tibetan Hare
If you are trekking or hiking through the grasslands of the Himalayas, especially across the wildlife sanctuaries, you can easily find the hair running zig-zag frightened. The animal can also be found in the alpine cold desert that stands between an altitude of 3000 m and 5300 m. This is profoundly found in the Changthang Valley.
5. Eurasian lynx
Eurasian lynx is one of the rare species of cats that is present in Leh Ladakh. The distinguishing factor of this wild cat from the others is the tuft of hair on both of its ears. It is hard to spot these wild cats because they stay put and are always on the hunt for their prey. This species of cats either remains alone or hunts in a pack of not more than 4 members.
6. Mountain Weasel
Mountain Weasel is another species of carnivorous that can be spotted in the great Himalayas. This slender and thin animal is a good hunter but stays away from threats like humans. They have a 7-year lifespan and spotting them is also on your luck.
Species of Birds present in the Himalayas
7. Black-necked Crane
There are 15 species of cranes and it’s only the black-necked crane that can thrive at high altitudes. And they are found in great numbers in Ladakh. If you by any chance visit the Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary, you can get a chance to spot this amusing species of crane.
8. Golden Eagle
Do you know, avid bird watchers as well as the people who have an interest in knowing about the birds and animals- whenever they visit Ladakh, the Golden Eagle is something that makes them curious. Also known as Gyaplak, the Golden Eagle is a species of bird that’s famous for what it does as well as its ferocious looks. There are narrations from the locals that some eagles of this species have the power to kill and lift a red fox.
That’s one thing which interests a lot of people. But if you want to spot them, you will have to climb up to an elevation of at least 3600 m or above. The wingspan of these birds are approximately 220 cm and their length goes up to 85 cm. Think how gigantic they would look. They weigh roughly 6 kg or less but have a massive strength. It breeds between March to August. Golden Eagle can live up to 30 years.
9. Himalayan Vulture
This scavenger bird is also known as Thangkar in Ladakhi and is a predator that is known to be the native of Asia itself. When it comes to Eurasian Landmass, Himalayan Vultures are one of the largest. And these birds are sighted only above 6000 m altitude.
They have a wingspan of 300 cm and length of 130 cm with their weight estimated to be between 8 to 12 kg. You can spot these vultures in the Upper Indus, Kargil District, Changthang Region, and Zanskar Valley.
Also known as Skiaklag in the local language- Lammergeier’s subspecies are found in multiple places and Ladakh has one of the 13 subspecies of this bird. The birdwatchers who wish to spot this bird have to visit places that are above 5000 m because that’s the altitude where they reside. The wingspan of these birds are around 284 cm and the length measures approximately 125 cm. They weigh approximately 7 kgs and have a life of approximately 20 years.
The unique thing about this scavenger species of bird is that they rely mostly on bones for their diet. It also preys on reptiles and smaller mammals. One can find these birds in Suru Valley, Changthang Region, as well as Zanskar Valley. So that’s the place where you will have to find them or you can spot them here.
There are multiple other rare species of animals and birds present in the great Himalayas. If you are an avid wildlife lover, then make a list and keep your camera charged.