National Parks in Ladakh

Ladakh National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries & Ramsar Sites Map
Ladakh National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries & Ramsar Sites Map

Hemis National Park

  • Hemis National Park is located within the Palearctic realm. It is the only National Park in India that is to the north of the Greater Himalayas.
  • It is bounded on the north by the Indus River, and on the south by the Zanskar Range. Apart from Indus, Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak river passes through Hemis National Park.
  • It is the largest National Park in India. It is the 2nd largest contiguous protected area, after the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and is famous for snow leopards. It is the only refuge in India for the Shapu (Ladakhi Urial).
  • Vegetation: Pine forests, alpine shrublands, meadows, and alpine tundra.
  • Major Fauna: Argali (Tibetan Sheep), bharal (blue sheep), Tibetan wolf.
  • Major Avifauna: Golden eagle, Himalayan griffon vulture and Himalayan snowcock.
  • Threats: Man-animal conflict due to overgrazing.

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Ladakh

Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary (Ramsar Site)

  • It is located in the Changthang Plateau in the Leh District of the union territory of Ladakh.
  • It has one of the highest lakes on earthTso Moriri (4595 m).
  • Korzok monastery (Korzok village) is located on the north-western bank of Tso Moriri.
  • Major Fauna: Snow leopard, kiang or Tibetan Wild Ass (LC)argali or Great Tibetan Sheep (NT).
  • The Dark Sky Reserve in Ladakh is a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.

Karakoram (Nubra Shyok) Wildlife Sanctuary

  • A high altitude Wildlife Sanctuary located in the easternmost reaches of the Karakoram range in Leh district of Ladakh.
  • It is one of the few places with a migratory population of the chiru/Tibetan antelope (NT).
  • It falls within the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region, which is characterized by extreme weather conditions and limited vegetation.
  • The Shyok River (tributary of the Indus River) passes through the Karakoram Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • It originates in the Rimo Glacier in the Karakoram range and joins the Indus River near Skardu in Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan.

Ramsar Sites of Ladakh (UT)

Tso Kar Wetland Complex (IBA)

  • The Tso Kar or Tsho kar is a fluctuating salt lake known for its size and depth situated in the Rupshu Plateau and valley in the southern part of Ladakh.
  • It is a high-altitude wetland complex consisting of two waterbodies:
    • Tso Kar (4,500 m above sea level) itself, a hypersaline lake to the north, &
    • Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake to the south.
  • It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water. 
  • It is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.
  • It is the most important breeding area of the Black-Necked Cranes (NT) in India.
  • This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.


  • Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri or “Mountain Lake”, is a lake in the Changthang Plateau of Ladakh.
  • It is a freshwater to brackish lake lying at 4,595 m above sea level. With no outflow, evaporation in the arid steppe conditions causes varying levels of salinity.
  • The 400-year-old Korzok monastery near the lake attracts many tourists. The barley fields at Korzok have been described as the highest cultivated land in the world.
  • Tsomoriri is the only breeding ground outside of China for Black-Necked Cranes (NT) and the only breeding ground for Bar-Headed Geese (LC) in India.
  • Great Tibetan Sheep (Argali – NT) and Tibetan Wild Ass (Kiang – LC) are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, of which the Changthang Plateau of India is the westernmost part.

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