Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 9,350 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
Lachipora Sanctuary is named after village Lachipora, which lies within the catchment fringing the protected area (Bacha 2000). The Sanctuary lies c. 90 km west of Srinagar and occupies the north bank of the River Jhelum. It is bounded to the north by Kakau Forest in Langet Forest Division, to the south by Maidan Forest, to the southeast by the River Jhelum, to the west by the ceasefire line and to the east by Bagna and Limber Forests (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987). The terrain is montane, with gentle to steep slopes, sometimes broken by huge rocky cliffs. In the upper reaches, the folds are thrown into a number of inaccessible undulations, enclosing narrow gullies, locally called nars (Bacha 2000). Lachipora was established as a sanctuary primarily to protect the Markhor Capra falconeri (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987). As the elevation varies from 1,600 to 3,300 m, the vegetation also varies from broadleaf forest through coniferous forests to alpine grassland/meadows. The broadleaf forest consists of Horse Chestnut and Birch, woodlands of Aesculus indica, Juglans regia, Acer cappadocium association, Betula utilis and Abies pindrow. The coniferous forests have pure Deodar Cedrus deodara stands, dotted with isolated Pinus griffithii. Blue Pine forests are just the reverse with P. griffithii dominating and scattered C. deodara. The Silver Fir woodland, found on steep dry slopes up to 3,500 m consists of Abies pindrow, Picea smithiana and Pinus griffithii, with scattered Betula utilis in the higher reaches. The alpine meadows pastures, above the tree line, are locally called margs by graziers. The dominant vegetation is herbaceous, with stunted bushes and isolated trees in folds. Primula, Potentilla, Caltha, Inula, Gentiana, Anemone and Corydalis are some of the common genera. Woody clumps consist of Rhododendron and Junipers.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: The Department of Wildlife Protection (1987) has prepared a bird checklist. Most noteworthy is the Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus. Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus and Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha are also reported, along with the Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar. No work has been done on the avifauna of this area, but as Lachipora is adjacent to Limber Valley and Gulmarg (both IBAs), the bird life is very similar. This area is selected as an IBA due to the presence of a healthy population of the globally threatened Western Tragopan.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Lachipora is one of the last refuges in India of the Markhor. It also has good population of Goral Nemorhaedus goral.

Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster is also found in the higher reaches but as it is hunted for its musk pod, it is quite elusive and uncommon. Among the bear species, both Brown Bear Ursus arctos and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus are found, with the former confined to alpine regions.

The Leopard Panthera pardus is widely distributed, especially around villages, where it does considerable damage to livestock.

Not much information is available on smaller mammals, reptiles and other fauna.

Key contributors: M. S. Bacha and workshop participants.

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