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Wildlife in Jammu & Kashmir
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Wildlife Sanctuaries in Jammu & Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir with the variety of geographical regions, climate, vegetation has many delights to offer to the wildlife enthusiast and bird watchers. The mountains, foothills and plains houses a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Some of the best known animals found in the region are the snow leopard, common leopard, brown bear, Himalayan black bear, hangul or Kashmir stag, Bharal, red fox, markhor, musk deer, yellow-throated marten, shapu and langurs. Some birds which are also found in Kashmir are golden eagles, lammergeiers, black eagles, kestrels, hobbys, griffon vultures, Cinnamon sparrows, the black and yellow grosbeak, black bulbuls and monal pheasants. Several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been established in the state of Jammu and Kashmir like Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, Nandni Wildlife Sanctuary, Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary, Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary, Dachigam National Park, Overa Wildlife Sanctuary and Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve.

Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary

Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated only 6 km. away from Jammu city. This sanctuary occupies an area of 31 square km and has an altitudinal range of 430 to 611 meters above sea level. About 8 mammal species of animals including nilgai and barking deer, wild boar, rhesus monkey can be seen in this sanctuary. About 15 species of birds can also be seen in this sanctuary like Indian Mynah, blue rock pigeon, peafowl, red jungle fowl, jungle crow, golden oriole, white cheeked bulbul. The best time to view the mammals is from September to March and for birds is March to May. The nearest airport and railway station is located in Jammu which is 8 kms from the sanctuary.

Neelgai, Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park

Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is situated only 248 kms. away from Jammu city. This national park occupies an area of 400 square km and has an altitudinal range of 1,700 to 4,800 meters above sea level. The area is characterised by marked variations in topography, climate and altitude as a result of which different types of forest vegetation occur. The principal tree species are Cedrus deodara, Pinus gerardiana, Pinus wallichiana, Quercus spp., Juglans regia, Ulmus spp., etc. The major herbs include Primula spp., Brachypodium spp., Anemone spp., Dipsacus mitis, Artemisia vulgaris, etc. The park contains 15 species of mammals including the musk deer, Himalayan black and brown bear, hangul, markhor, goral, langur, leopard, etc. There are about 50 species of birds like the Himalayan jungle crow, bearded vulture, griffon vulture,

flycatcher, golden oriole, white cheeked bulbul and Indian Mynah. The best season to view the birds is from March to May and for animals mammal is September to March. The nearest airport and railway station is in Jammu, which is 250 kms away. 

Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary

Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is situated about 26 kms from Jammu. This wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 33 square km. and has been named after Nandni village. Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by stunning locale and varied topography. This sanctuary is the home of a large number of rare and endangered species of mammals and birds. There are about eight mammal species in the area. The main species are leopard, wild boar, rhesus monkey, goral, grey langur etc. The sanctuary is also known for the wonderful species of pheasants. The common birds are Indian mynah, blue rock pigeon, peafowl, red jungle fowl, chir pheasants, chakor etc. The best season to view the birds is from March to May and for animals is September to March. The nearest airport and railway station is in Jammu, which is 28 kms away.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary has been named after the two lakes located on each corner of the sanctuary. This sanctuary comprises an area of 98 square km. and located about 56 kms away from the Jammu city. The vegetation consists of the mixed scrub forest with broad leaved species mixed with stands of Pinus gerardiana. The common broad leaved species are Acacia spp., Mallotus phillipensis, dalbergia sissii, ficus religiosa, bahunia variegata. This wildlife sanctuary supports 8 species of mammals and 15 species of birds. The mammals found in the sanctuary are Goral, wild boar, barking deer, leopard. There is multitude of birds like black partridge, red jungle fowl, peafowl, grey partridge, green pigeon, blue rock pigeon, rufus turtle dove. The best season to view the mammals is from September to March and for birds is March to May. The nearest airport and railway station is located in Jammu which is 58 kms from the sanctuary.

Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary

Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary is situated right on the banks of Ujh river, north of Jasrota village. This wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 10 square km. The entire area is mainly dominated by bamboo plantations. The other broad leaved species are Acacia Catechu A.Arabica, Dalbergia Sissoo, Lannea Grandis etc. The main shrubs are Lantana camara, Carisa spinarum, Dodonea Visacosa. Cheetal, Barking deer, wild boar and rhesus monkey are the main animals which are found in the sanctuary. There is rich variety of pheasants and other migratory and resident birds. The principal species are peafowl, red jungle fowl, jungle bush quail, green pigeon and blue rock pigeon. The best season to view the mammals is from September to March and for birds is March to May. The nearest airport and railway station is located in Jammu which is 65 kms from the sanctuary.

Dachigam National Park

Dachigam National Park is situated about 22 kms. from Srinagar. Dachigam National Park forms almost half of the Dal Lake's catchment area and is one of the famous natural reserves in India. This park covers an area of 141 square kms. and situated at an altitude of 1700 to 4000 meters above sea level. The dense forests of Dachigam offers a brilliant view along with a Glacier fed rivulet flowing right through the middle. There are over fifty species of trees, twenty of shrubs and five hundred species of herbs. The principal tree species are Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Juglans regia, Morus alba, Betula utilis, Salix spp., Populus spp., Prunus armeniaca, Corylus colurna, Quercus robur, Ulmus wallichiana, Aesculus indica, etc. This park is the home of the endangered Hangul Stag, the species of the red deer in the country. The various other mammals include Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, langur, Himalayan marmot, leopard etc. There are over 150 species of birds. The principal species are monal, koklas, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, golden eagle, grey heron, starling, golden oriole, paradise flycatcher, western yellow-billed blue magpie, kestrel, peregrine falcon, black bulbul, etc. There is also a Trout fish farm in Dachigam. In order to explore the park you will have to obtain permission from the wildlife authorities. The best season to view the birds is from March to May and for animals is September to March. The nearest airport is located in Srinagar which is about 32 kms from Dachigam National Park.

Overa Wildlife Sanctuary

The Overa Wildlife Sanctuary is situated about 76 kms. from the south-east of Srinagar, near Pahalgam. Overa Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by stunning mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys. This sanctuary covers an area of 33 square km. The Overa Willife Sanctuary is richly covered with a variety of floral complexes which comprise mainly of conifers. The principal species are Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, aesculus indica, Morus alba, Juglans regia, etc. This sanctuary is the home of 13 rare species of mammals and over 80 species of birds. The mammals are hangul, musk deer, serow, rhesus macaque, langur, leopard, leopard cat, etc. It has acquired an outstanding position for its varied and magnificent species of pheasants like chukar, koklas, monal, Himalayan snow cock, jungle crow, red billed chough, griffon vulture, bearded vulture, Himalayan whistling thrush, rufous-backed shrike, Indian mynah, etc. The best season to view the birds is from March to August and for animals is September to April. The nearest airport is located in Srinagar, about 87 kms from the sanctuary.

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve

Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is located about 48 kms. to its south-west of Srinagar. This reserve covers an area of 180 square kms and situated at an altitude of 2400 to 4300 meters above sea level. The sanctuary is of particular interest to ornithologists. The area holds a rich cover of vegetation and consists of conifers which account for over 90% of area. The principal species are Cedrus deodara, Pinus griffithii, Abies pindrow, Aesculus indica etc. The ground cover is very rich and dicotyledonus herbs dominate that comprises of Rumex patientia, Primula spp., anemone spp., etc. It is famous for retaining several rare and endangered species of animals like the musk deer, hangul, serow, brown bear, Leopard, black bear and red fox etc. The reserve also houses a good population of pheasants and resident and migratory birds. The common birds are griffon vulture, monal, snow cock, koklas, blue rock pigeon, Kashmir roller, European hoopoe, jungle crow etc. The best time to view the birds is from the month of March to May and for animals is from September to March. The nearest airport is located in Srinagar, about 57 kms from the reserve.

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