Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 13,925 ha

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

Site description
As the name indicates, the Sanctuary surrounds the famous tourist resort of Gulmarg. It was proposed to be a biosphere reserve in 1981, but that did not work out, so the Department of Wildlife Protection declared it a Sanctuary in 1987. The Sanctuary lies on the northeast side of the Pir Panjal Range, c. 50 km southwest of Srinagar. It encompasses the upper catchment area of Ferozpur Nullah and the forests that surround the Gulmarg meadow. It is bounded to the north by the Jhelum Valley Forest Division, to the south by Poonch and Pir Panjal forest divisions, to the east by Drang village and to the west by Jhelum valley and Poonch forest divisions. The terrain is steep, becoming precipitous in the upper reaches of Ferozpur Nullah. The underlying rocks are predominantly Panjal volcanics, with well exposed acidic lava flows. Shale, limestone, slate and quartzite occur throughout the tract (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987; Bacha 2002). Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary consists of sub-alpine forests of Blue Pine, Silver Birch Betula utilis and Silver Fir Abies pindrow. Blue Pine forest is dominated by Pinus griffithi, which at places is mixed with the stands of Spruce Picea smithiana, Yew Taxus wallichiana and Maple Acer cappadocicum. This type of forest occurs mainly at lower altitudes on dry aspects of the slopes (Bacha 2002). Silver Fir is restricted to mountain folds and moist aspects. At lower levels, it is associated at some places with Pinus griffithii, Taxus wallichiana and Picea simithiana. Birch extends from 3,000 to 3,500 m, and is distributed in the mountain folds and shady sites bordering alpine slopes. At lower altitudes, the forest joins stands of Silver Fir (Bacha 2002). The vast alpine meadows have mainly herbaceous vegetation of Inula, Primula, Potentilla, Corydalis, Gentiana, Rumex and Polygonum species. In and around the meadows of Gulmarg village, many bulbous plants that were introduced, e.g. Iris, Narcissus, Daffodils, Jonquils, and Lupins, have become naturalized.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: There is no recent checklist of this site. A number of birds appear in the official lists (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987) but these records need to be confirmed. Osmaston (1923) has recorded 76 species from Gulmarg area. Based on this old checklist, 14 species of Biome-7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest) and four of Biome-5 (Eurasian High Montane- Alpine and Tibetan) are found here. Among the threatened species, only Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra is confirmed. Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis is regularly seen. Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus and Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha were reported from this site (Ifshan Deewan and M. S. Bacha, pers. comm. 2003).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The area is noted for its wildlife. Large mammals recorded during a brief survey in 1979 include Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Himalayan Black Bear U. thibetanus, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Leopard Panthera pardus and Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster (Green 1979, 1986).

According to document of the Department of Wildlife Protection (Bacha 2002) Markhor Capra falconeri are also found in this Sanctuary.

Key contributors: IBA Team and workshop participants.

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