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Location India, Sikkim
Central coordinates 88o 45.28' East  28o 1.72' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 50,000 ha
Altitude 4,500 - 7,000m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Tso Lhamo Plateau, Lashar, Sebu La and Yumesamdong complex is typical cold desert on Tibetan Plateau and trans-Himalyan facies, with high snow mountains and glaciers, lakes and geothermal springs and vast valleys with grasses, sedges, cushionoid vegetation, lichens and associated fauna. In this Reserve Forest on the international border with Tibet (China), heavy military deployment has caused a network of roads on the plateau with military establishment mostly near glacial lakes of Gyam Tsona and Tso Lhamo. The area has a short growing season from May to October with peak in July-August when most of the birds breed. This eco-region has not yet been included in the protected area network of the State and is perhaps the most threatened as it contains many endangered species (protected under Schedules I and II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, such as the Tibetan Wild Ass or Kiang Equus kiang, Nayan Ovis ammon and Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis. This IBA seeks to link the Tso Lhamo Plateau with the Lashar, Sebu La Yumesamdong section, reaching southwards to touch the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forests below Yumesamdong and around Thangu in North Sikkim.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Giant Babax Babax waddelli resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Hoary-throated Barwing Actinodura nipalensis 2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -
Shrubland   -
Rocky areas   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Forestry
military -
Notes: Military
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism / recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Tim Inskipp and Usha Lachungpa.


Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Anonymous (2003) Sikkim State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Department of Forests, Environment and Wildlife, Govt. of Sikkim. Pp. 104.

BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Ganguli-Lachungpa, U. (2002) Avifauna of Trans-Himalayan and alpine grasslands in Sikkim, India. In: Birds of Wetlands and Grasslands: Proceedings of the Salim Ali Centenary Seminar, 1996 (eds. Rahmani, A. R. and Ugra, G.). Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai. Pp. 196-207.

Ganguli-Lachungpa, U. and Rahmani, A. R. (2002) Development of Conservation Strategy for the Alpine Grasslands of Sikkim. Annual Report combined 2000-2002. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Unpublished. Pp. 53.

Ganguli-Lachungpa, U. and Rahmani, A. R. (2003) Development of Conservation Strategy for the Alpine Grasslands of Sikkim. Annual Report 2003. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Unpublished. Pp. 106.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tso Lhamo Plateau - Lashar - Sebu La - Yumesamdong Complex. Downloaded from on 30/09/2014

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