Hirapora Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 11,450 ha

Protection status:

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
Hirapora, a reserved forest within Shopian Forest Division, was notified as a sanctuary in 1987. It lies in the Pir Panjal Range, 70 km south of Srinagar. It is bounded to the north by Lake Gumsar, northeast by Hirapora village, east by Rupri Forest, south by Lake Sanasar and to the west by Pir Panjal Pass. The Sanctuary was set up mainly to protect Markhor Capra falconeri, but it benefits other high altitude wildlife. The slopes are gentle to moderately steep on the eastern side of the Pir Panjal divide, and precipitous, with many cliffs, to the west and south. Five main vegetation types can be distinguished, namely (i) Blue Pine Pinus griffithii forests in dry and exposed aspects, with Silver Fir Abies webbiana and Spruce Picea smithiana; (ii) Silver Fir forests, with Blue Pine and Spruce, which forms the largest component of the vegetation and is confined to cooler, moister aspects; (iii) Evergreen (e.g. Juniperus spp.) or Deciduous (e.g. Rosa spp.) scrub in the middle and lower zones, respectively; (iv) Birch Betula utilis forest, with an understorey of Juniperus spp. and Rhododendron campanulatum; and (v) Alpine meadows; (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: No work has been done on the avifauna of this important sanctuary. The Department of Wildlife Protection (1987) has listed only 39 bird species, although there could be at least 3 times more. Recently, Rashid Y. Naqaush (pers. comm. 2003) has recorded Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus and Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha. Among the globally Threatened species, Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra is definitely found here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Hirapora probably has the largest population of Markhor in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the area of subspecies C. falconeri cashmiriensis (Prater 1980). This subspecies has horns that diverge less, and in old males, show two complete twists or spirals. Before the enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Markhor was one of the most prized ‘game animals’ of the State, along with the Goral Nemorhaedus goral. Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster is also reported from the Sanctuary (R. Y. Naqaush pers. comm. 2003). Brown Bear Ursus arctos is found in the alpine and subalpine regions, while Asiatic Black Bear U. thibetanus is found at lower altitudes and is widespread. Other species are: Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Common Otter Lutra lutra, Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula and Royle’s Pika Ochotona roylei.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hirapora Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 10/07/2020.