Manali Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 3,180 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Manali is a popular tourist resort in Himachal Pradesh, due to its spectacular scenery, but not many people, even officials, know that there is a little-known 3,180 ha Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, notified as long ago as 1954 under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933. It was mainly established to safeguard the catchment area of Manalsu Nullah, an important tributary of the Beas River. The Manali Sanctuary and adjoining forested areas provide good habitats for many pheasant species, even though the Forest Department had planted many non-native species such as Poplar, Willow and Robinia. The vegetation type, as classified by Champion and Seth (1968) is as follows: Alpine Pastures, Kharsu Oak Forest, Moist Temperate Deciduous Forest, Western Mixed Coniferous Forest, Moist Deodar Forest and Ban Oak Forest. Juniper Juniperus communis is present above the tree-line, along with Rhododendron.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: At least 149 species of birds have been recorded from the Manali area (Gaston et al. 1981). Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus, Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus, and Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha are present in small numbers. Based on their surveys in 1979-1980, Gaston et al. (1981) estimate about 50 Western Tragopan. The Monal population is much larger, in the range of 250 pairs. Koklass is the most abundant large pheasant species in this Park, common at the lower end of Hamta Nullah and Solang Nullah. This site is selected as an IBA mainly because of its good population of globally threatened Western Tragopan. Historically, the Manali Sanctuary had Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii, even as late as the 1980s. Its status since then is not known, mainly due to lack of proper surveys. As the Cheer Pheasant can survive in slightly disturbed habitat (Kaul 1989, Garson et al. 1992, BirdLife International 2001), it could still be surviving in Manali Sanctuary despite the pressure from tourists (R. Kaul in litt. 2003). At higher reaches in the alpine zones, Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis and Snow Partridge Lerwa lerwa are seen, representing Biome-5 species.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Of larger mammals, 18 species have been recorded in the Manali area (Gaston et al. 1981, 1983, Singh et al. 1990). These include the Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Leopard Panthera pardus, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, and Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis. Smaller carnivores include the Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Himalayan Palm Civet Paguma larvata and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

Key contributors: Sanjeeva Pandey and S. Sathyakumar.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Manali Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 10/12/2022.