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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 76o 59.00' East  31o 16.13' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 4,000 ha
Altitude 575 - 1,985m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Shimla and Solan districts, is part of the catchment area of the Sutlej river. It is bounded to the north by the Sutlej, and to the south by a mountain ridge. The Sanctuary comprises a short section of the southern slopes of the Sutlej Valley, with steep terrain. Places of religious interest include the Harsingh Temple (Singh et al. 1990). The Sanctuary may be one of the most important sites in Himachal Pradesh for Cheer pheasant Catreus wallichii, and the only site present within the Sutlej catchment. Seven species of Galliformes have been reported from this area (Mishra 1996). Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii and Ban Oak Quercus leucotrichophora forests, and subtropical Euphorbia scrub are the major vegetation types (Mishra 1996). The slopes are sparsely forested with Chir Pine and Ban Oak, and mostly dominated by grassy tracts, often extending continuously from the ridge-tops down to about 1,000 m (Garson 1983).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Not much work has been done on the bird life of this interesting site, covering tracts of Himalayan Sub-tropical forest. Mishra (1996) during his studies on the Goral from November 1992 to May 1993, counted 106 species of birds, including the globally threatened Cheer Pheasant. He also recorded Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelana and Koklass Pucrasia macrolopha. Recently, Shah et al. (2002) have worked on the Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus, a common Galliform. In this IBA, the main biome is Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest (Biome-8), which occurs between 1,000 to 2,000 m. Nine species of this of biome have been listed by Mishra (1996). None of them are of conservation concern. This IBA lies in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA- 128). As we do not have a detailed checklist of this site, it is likely that there would be some more Restricted Range species, especially small forest birds, than we know as of now. More detailed work is needed on the bird fauna of this site. Presently, we consider this as a Data Deficient site.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The mammalian fauna includes Leopard Panthera pardus, which is the top predator (Mishra 1993). Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Himalayan Palm Civet Paguma larvata, Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula, and Jungle Cat Felis chaus are other carnivores. Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Goral Nemorhaedus goral and Wild Boar Sus scrofa represent the ungulates.

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  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Majathal Sanctuary 4,000 is identical to site 4,000  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
forestry -
Notes: Collection of timber, fuelwood, fodder and minor forest produce
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Grazing
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Charudutt Mishra.

References 

Garson, P. J. (1983) The cheer pheasant Catreus wallichii in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas: an update. WPA Journal 8: 29-39.

Mishra, C. (1993) Habitat use of Goral in Majathal Harsang Wildlife Sanctuary. M.Sc. dissertation. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Mishra, C. (1996) Pheasants and other birds of Majathal Harsang Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India. Forktail 12: 1-8.

Shah, J. N., Kalsi, R. S., Kaul, R. and Khan, J. A. (2002) Group size, Sex ratio and Habitat use of Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus in Majathal Harsang Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India. Proc. National Symposium on Galliformes. AVC College, Mayaladuturai. Pp. 58-63.

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/12/2014

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