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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 76o 44.67' East  32o 30.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 37,886 ha
Altitude 2,250 - 6,044m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description The Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamba district is connected in the west by a forest corridor to the Tundah Sanctuary, another IBA. Kugti has a diverse topography and abundant water sources, many of them originating from glaciers (Singh et al. 1990) The nearest town is Bharmaur, c. 13 km away. It houses the famous Manimahesh temple, an attraction to thousands of pilgrims despite the difficult terrain and extreme cold conditions. The motorable road ends at Hadsar, a small village and then one has to trek to Kugti or Manimahesh temple. According to the classification of Champion and Seth (1968) the vegetation consists of Alpine Pasture, Western Mixed Coniferous Forest and Moist Deodar Forest. These forest types are seen at different altitudinal zones, sometimes within a few hundred metres. High altitude coniferous forest is dominated by Fir Abies pindrow, with some mixed deciduous woodland, particularly at the bottom of the valley. Extensive stands of Cedar Cedrus deodara are seen, along with many species of Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome. Similarly, subalpine forest and alpine scrub (Gaston et al. 1981a) provide good habitats to many mammals and birds. The Western Mixed Coniferous Forest component provides another habitat type for the birds.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Not much work has been done on the bird fauna of Kugti WLS. Gaston et al. (1981a) have recorded 117 species in the Ravi Valley from Dalhousie and Chamba upwards. Three species of pheasants are found at different levels: Himalayan Monal Lophophurus impejanus is reported to be common (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003), Koklass Pucrasia macrolopha is also numerous and Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii has been recorded on the north side of Budhil Nala, but not within the sanctuary itself (Gaston et al. 1981a, 1981b). Sondhi (unpublished tour report) during his survey in June 1997, recorded 40 species, including many species of the Sino- Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7), and some of Eurasian High Montane (Alpine and Tibetan) (Biome-5) and Sino- Himalayan Subtropical forests (Biome-8). Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest biome species includes Slatyheaded Parakeet Psittacula himalayana. Kugti WLS will come in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA). This large EBA, ranging in altitude from 1,500 m to 2,600 m, and in an area of about 130,000 sq. km in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal has many globally threatened and restricted range species. In India, there are 11 Restricted Range species. Looking at the undisturbed habitat available in this IBA, some restricted range species would have considerable percentage of their overall numbers in this IBA alone. More research is required to study abundance and density of different bird species. We consider this site as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The information on other fauna is also meagre, except for the work by Gaston et al. (1981a, 1983) which records: Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Goral Nemorhaedus goral¸ Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Ibex Capra sibirica and Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus. Kugti is one of the best protected areas in Himachal Pradesh for Brown Bear (S. Sathyakumar pers. comm. 2003). Other mammals listed by Singh et al. (1990) include the Leopard Panthera pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus and Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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 small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Geological events avalanches/landslides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant 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
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines 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)  
Kugti Sanctuary 37,886 is identical to site 37,886  

Habitats

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

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Key contributors: S. Sathyakumar, G. S. Rawat and Sanjeeva Pandey.

References 

Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A revised survey of the forest types of India, Govt. of India Press, Delhi. Pp. 403.

Gaston, A. J., Hunter, M.L. Jr and Garson, P.J. (1981a) The wildlife of Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. University of Maine School of Forest Resources Technical Notes No. 82. Pp 159.

Gaston, A. J. Garson, P. J. and Hunter, M. L. Jr (1981b) Present distribution and status of pheasants in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. WPA Journal 6: 10-30.

Gaston, A. J., Garson, P. J. and Hunter, M. L. Jr (1983) The status and conservation of forest wildlife in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas. Biological Conservation 27: 291-314.

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 (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/09/2015

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