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Location India, Jammu & Kashmir
Central coordinates 74o 22.00' East  34o 14.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 9,350 ha
Altitude 1,630 - 3,300m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Lachipora Sanctuary is named after village Lachipora, which lies within the catchment fringing the protected area (Bacha 2000). The Sanctuary lies c. 90 km west of Srinagar and occupies the north bank of the River Jhelum. It is bounded to the north by Kakau Forest in Langet Forest Division, to the south by Maidan Forest, to the southeast by the River Jhelum, to the west by the ceasefire line and to the east by Bagna and Limber Forests (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987). The terrain is montane, with gentle to steep slopes, sometimes broken by huge rocky cliffs. In the upper reaches, the folds are thrown into a number of inaccessible undulations, enclosing narrow gullies, locally called nars (Bacha 2000). Lachipora was established as a sanctuary primarily to protect the Markhor Capra falconeri (Department of Wildlife Protection 1987). As the elevation varies from 1,600 to 3,300 m, the vegetation also varies from broadleaf forest through coniferous forests to alpine grassland/meadows. The broadleaf forest consists of Horse Chestnut and Birch, woodlands of Aesculus indica, Juglans regia, Acer cappadocium association, Betula utilis and Abies pindrow. The coniferous forests have pure Deodar Cedrus deodara stands, dotted with isolated Pinus griffithii. Blue Pine forests are just the reverse with P. griffithii dominating and scattered C. deodara. The Silver Fir woodland, found on steep dry slopes up to 3,500 m consists of Abies pindrow, Picea smithiana and Pinus griffithii, with scattered Betula utilis in the higher reaches. The alpine meadows pastures, above the tree line, are locally called margs by graziers. The dominant vegetation is herbaceous, with stunted bushes and isolated trees in folds. Primula, Potentilla, Caltha, Inula, Gentiana, Anemone and Corydalis are some of the common genera. Woody clumps consist of Rhododendron and Junipers.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The Department of Wildlife Protection (1987) has prepared a bird checklist. Most noteworthy is the Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus. Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus and Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha are also reported, along with the Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar. No work has been done on the avifauna of this area, but as Lachipora is adjacent to Limber Valley and Gulmarg (both IBAs), the bird life is very similar. This area is selected as an IBA due to the presence of a healthy population of the globally threatened Western Tragopan.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Lachipora is one of the last refuges in India of the Markhor. It also has good population of Goral Nemorhaedus goral.

Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster is also found in the higher reaches but as it is hunted for its musk pod, it is quite elusive and uncommon. Among the bear species, both Brown Bear Ursus arctos and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus are found, with the former confined to alpine regions.

The Leopard Panthera pardus is widely distributed, especially around villages, where it does considerable damage to livestock.

Not much information is available on smaller mammals, reptiles and other fauna.

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 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid 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 some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises 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)  
Lachipora Sanctuary 9,350 is identical to site 9,350  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
rangeland/pastureland -
Notes: Grazing
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human settlements

Acknowledgements Key contributors: M. S. Bacha and workshop participants.


Bacha, M. S. (2000) Development of Natural Parks and Sanctuaries: Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary (2000-2001). Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu and Kashmir Government, Srinagar.

Department of Wildlife Protection (1987) Status survey report of proposed Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary. Department of Wildlife Protection, Srinagar. Unpublised. Pp. 6.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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