Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary and surrounding Reserve Forests

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 98,524 ha

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

Site description
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Chamoli district of the Garhwal Himalaya. The Sanctuary was created in 1972, and takes its name from the famous Hindu shrine at Kedarnath. It is situated about 300 km northeast of Delhi, covers an area of 97,500 ha, and is one of the largest protected areas in the Indian Himalayas. The entire Sanctuary lies in the southern catchment area of the Alaknanda river, which is one of three major tributaries of the Ganga. The high rainfall in the area has led to lush broadleaf dominated forests in the temperate and subalpine zones. The Sanctuary also has some eastern Himalayan elements. The highly threatened Musk Deer Moschus chrysogarter, is still found in the Sanctuary in good numbers. Mountain peaks border the Sanctuary at over 6,000 m above msl in the north, and in the by south the Mandal-Okhimath road to the south. Altitude ranges from 1,400 m (near Phata) to 7,068 m (Chaukhamba peak). Trishula Reserve Forest adjoins the Sanctuary on the Gopeshwar- Mandal side, and is a well-preserved Temperate Deciduous forest. The subtropical zone is represented mainly by Chir pine Pinus roxburghii, up to 2,000 m. Euphorbia royleana occasionally occurs on the dry, southern aspects up to 1,500 m. Within the temperate zone, Ban oak Quercus incana (1,500-2,100 m), Moru oak Q. dilatata (2,130-2,750 m) and Karsu oak Q. semecarpifolia (2,500- 3,300 m) forest occur. The flowering plants of Tungnath and Kedarnath are listed by Semwal and Gaur (1981) and Rau (1961).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Green (1986) reported 132 bird species from Kedarnath WLS. Later, Sathyakumar (1994) added 78 more species to the list, and another 30 species were added by Rashid H. Raza (1996-2000), Ramana Athreya, Vidya Athreya, Dhananjay Mohan and Sanjay Sondhi (Unpublished checklist in Management plan) bringing it to 240 species. Cheer pheasant Catreus wallichii, a globally threatened species (BirdLife International 2001), is found in this IBA. The site falls in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Owing to its great altitudinal variation from about 1,000 m to more than 7,000 m, three biomes (Sino- Himalayan Subtropical Forest, Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane (Alpine and Tibetan), described by BirdLife International (undated), are found in this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Over 30 mammalian species, excluding bats, have been recorded (Green 1985, Sathyakumar 1994). Most noteworthy is the record of a Snow Leopard Uncia uncia in March 1979 (Green 1982).

The ungulates of conservation concern are Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogarter, Indian Muntjak or Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Goral Nemorhaedus goral, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur.

Key contributors: Rashid H. Raza, Dhananjai Mohan and S. Sathyakumar.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary and surrounding Reserve Forests. Downloaded from on 10/12/2022.