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Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Jammu and Kashmir

Main Wildlife Attractions: snow leopard, lynx, wolf, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Argali, Blue Sheep, Wild yak, Ibex

Coverage Area: 4,000 sq. km

Best Time to Visit:May to December

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The only area that represents India's 'Trans Himalayan' area, its cold desert environment and harsh climatic conditions preserve wildlife that have adapted to the extremes of the climatic conditions prevailing there. With the ecosystem being affected, wildlife in Leh-Ladakh has undergone changes. They thrive on sparse vegetation, poor shelter, rocky terrain and bitter cold. Many animals migrate to lower regions in winter while animals like brown bear and marmots, choose to hibernate. Wildlife Sanctuaries in Leh - Ladakh preserve the fast declining animal species. Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary of Ladakh has some rare species of wildlife that are well preserved.

Changthang is at the northern plains at an elevation of 4000m. The extremely harsh and dry weather leaves the rangelands non cultivable. The general topography of Changthang is rugged and consists of marshy and sandy plains on tablelands and surrounded by mountains. Yet Changthang sustains diversity of wildlife species and medicinal plants. Extreme military activity in the year 1962 had greatly disturbed the ecology and wildlife of Changthang. About 4000km of the Changthang area was approved for the wildlife sanctuary in 1987 to protect its unique flora and fauna.

The Changthang Wildlife Sancutary was not within tourism since it was close to China borders but since 1994 tourists are taken to areas around Pangong Tso and Tso Morari lakes. Kiangs face serious threats to survival because of the military activity as well as tourism. Found in the open sandy tablelands the Kiangs live in herds and eat sturdy grasses. The Changthang Wildlife Sancutary is home to a large number Tibetan wild ass, the black-necked crane and the bar-headed geese that are endangered.

At a spectacular height of 4,600 meters in the outer Himalayas with peaks ranging from 5,800 to 7,600 meters, Ladakh the mysterious land of passes with unexplored beauty lies with its unique pack of wildlife species. If you are on a rendezvous to Leh and Ladakh and want to catch a glimpse of its Wildlife, you can see its shaggy looking yaks, nyans, the Great Tibetan sheep, fast dwindling urials or shapus and bharal or the blue sheep in the Leh and Ladakh region.