WILDLIFE IN LADAKH
Ladakh being one of the highest inhabited plateaus and situated amidst formidable mountain ranges
makes it one of the preferred destinations to witness remoteness in its truest forms. The same
remoteness allows for chance sightings of wildlife just by the roadside.
The Snow Leopard [Ladakhi Shan] once ranged throughout the Himalayas, Tibet and as far as the say a
mountain on the Mongolian-Russian border; and the elevation from 1800m to 5400m. But it is believed
there are about 200 in Ladakh, which are kept in the Hemis High Altitude National Park. It is rare in the
Kyang [the wild horse] is a unique animal. It belongs to ass family. But looks pretty. Kyangs are
frequently spotted in the grassland of Changthang region of Ladakh, numbering about 1500 individuals.
Yak [wild ox] is a type of cattle with long hairs and horns. There are a few brown bears in the Suru valley
and area around the Dras region. The Tibetan wolf, which sometimes preys on the livestock of Ladakh is,
is the most persecuted among the predators, and reduced to 300 in nos. in Ladakh.
The Tibet Sand Fox has been recently discovered in this region. Among smaller animals, marmots, hares
and several types of pika and vole are common.
In The Leh Ladakh Flora and Fauna has the Chiru, or Tibetan antelope, (known in Ladakhi as Stos) is also
endangered. It has traditionally been hunted for its wool. The wool obtained from the Chiru is called
Shahtoosh, which is valued in South Asia for its light weight and warmth and as a status symbol. Owning
or trading in Shahtoosh is now illegal in most countries. To wear shahtoosh is a sign of luxurious life.
Nayan is the largest sheep in the world. Urial is the smallest sheep of the world. Both are found in all
parts of Ladakh. Bharal or blue sheep is mostly found in Ladakh region. But it is not found in some areas
of Zangskar and Sham. I bex is an elegant mountain goat. It’s population about 6,000 individuals keep it
on second popular animal of western part of Ladakh. It can run easily in rugged areas in dangerous time.
If you walk and watch on the road for few hours you can observe the beauty of these animals.