Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 37,886 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed high not assessed
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Site description (2004 baseline)
The Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamba district is connected in the west by a forest corridor to the Tundah Sanctuary, another IBA. Kugti has a diverse topography and abundant water sources, many of them originating from glaciers (Singh et al. 1990) The nearest town is Bharmaur, c. 13 km away. It houses the famous Manimahesh temple, an attraction to thousands of pilgrims despite the difficult terrain and extreme cold conditions. The motorable road ends at Hadsar, a small village and then one has to trek to Kugti or Manimahesh temple. According to the classification of Champion and Seth (1968) the vegetation consists of Alpine Pasture, Western Mixed Coniferous Forest and Moist Deodar Forest. These forest types are seen at different altitudinal zones, sometimes within a few hundred metres. High altitude coniferous forest is dominated by Fir Abies pindrow, with some mixed deciduous woodland, particularly at the bottom of the valley. Extensive stands of Cedar Cedrus deodara are seen, along with many species of Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome. Similarly, subalpine forest and alpine scrub (Gaston et al. 1981a) provide good habitats to many mammals and birds. The Western Mixed Coniferous Forest component provides another habitat type for the birds.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Not much work has been done on the bird fauna of Kugti WLS. Gaston et al. (1981a) have recorded 117 species in the Ravi Valley from Dalhousie and Chamba upwards. Three species of pheasants are found at different levels: Himalayan Monal Lophophurus impejanus is reported to be common (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003), Koklass Pucrasia macrolopha is also numerous and Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii has been recorded on the north side of Budhil Nala, but not within the sanctuary itself (Gaston et al. 1981a, 1981b). Sondhi (unpublished tour report) during his survey in June 1997, recorded 40 species, including many species of the Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7), and some of Eurasian High Montane (Alpine and Tibetan) (Biome-5) and Sino- Himalayan Subtropical forests (Biome-8). Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest biome species includes Slatyheaded Parakeet Psittacula himalayana. Kugti WLS will come in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA). This large EBA, ranging in altitude from 1,500 m to 2,600 m, and in an area of about 130,000 sq. km in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal has many globally threatened and restricted range species. In India, there are 11 Restricted Range species. Looking at the undisturbed habitat available in this IBA, some restricted range species would have considerable percentage of their overall numbers in this IBA alone. More research is required to study abundance and density of different bird species. We consider this site as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The information on other fauna is also meagre, except for the work by Gaston et al. (1981a, 1983) which records: Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Goral Nemorhaedus goral¸ Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Ibex Capra sibirica and Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus. Kugti is one of the best protected areas in Himachal Pradesh for Brown Bear (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003). Other mammals listed by Singh et al. (1990) include the Leopard Panthera pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

Key contributors: S. Sathyakumar, G. S. Rawat and Sanjeeva Pandey.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/02/2024.