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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 77o 11.70' East  32o 2.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 1,419 ha
Altitude 2,800 - 3,680m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Kais Wildlife Sanctuary, lies in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. This small (1,419 ha) high altitude sanctuary includes parts of the catchment of the Kais Nala, an important tributary of the River Beas. It was declared mainly to protect the Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster and pheasants, in 1954 under the then Punjab Wild Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933. There is a lack of published information on the vegetation of Kais WLS. It is estimated that 1,174 ha of the Sanctuary is forested. Fir Abies pindrow and Spruce Picea smithiana, with some Oak Quercus semecarpifolia, Maple Acer sp., Poplar Populus sp., Walnut Juglans regia and Cedar Cedrus deodara, predominate at lower altitudes, while the alpine zone bears Birch Betula utilis and Rhododendron scrub forest.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Practically no work has been done on the avifauna of this Sanctuary, although there is some information on the pheasants, for which it is famous. The globally threatened Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus and Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii are reported to be present (Singh et al. 1990). The more common species include Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus, Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelana and Koklass pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha. The Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar is also present. This site is designated an IBA based on the presence of two threatened pheasant species. Checklist of the birds of this site is not available so we do not know how many restricted range and biome species are found here. This site is considered as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Musk Deer is the most famous mammal of this Sanctuary, but its population has declined drastically due to poaching for its musk pod. Brown Bear Ursus arctos is seen in the subalpine and alpine areas, while Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus is found at lower altitudes. Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus, Barking Deer or Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak and Goral Nemorhaedus goral are the major wild ungulates that have to share the limited resources of the area with a large number of domestic animals.

Leopard Panthera pardus is sometimes found very close to villages and settlements in search of easy prey. Not much is known about the lesser carnivores of the Sanctuary.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kais Sanctuary 1,419 is identical to site 1,419  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Sanjeeva Pandey.


Singh, S., Kothari, A. and Pande, P. (Eds) (1990) Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh: management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. Pp 164.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kais Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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