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Location India, Uttaranchal
Central coordinates 78o 19.77' East  31o 9.73' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 95,308 ha
Altitude 1,290 - 6,387m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Govind National Park (47,208) lies in Uttarkashi district, about 225 km north of Dehra Dun, the state capital, and comprises the whole of Supin Range in the Tons Forest Division. It is bound to the north by the interstate boundary with Himachal Pradesh, to the east by a chain of mountain peaks and to the south by the Tons-Yamuna watershed. Two major rivers Rupin and Supin flow through the Sanctuary, and meet at Naitwar to form the Tons river. Govind Wildlife Sanctuary (GWS) and National Park is an area of lush forests, breathtaking scenery and high faunal diversity. The National Park (47,208 ha) and Sanctuary (48,100 ha) together spread over an area of 95,308 ha, form the upper catchment of the Tons river that is the most important tributary of the Yamuna in its upper reaches. The adjacent Kulni and Balcha Reserve Forests have good temperate vegetation and are notable for Deodar Cedrus deodara. These Reserve Forests have suitable habitat for the Vulnerable Western Tragopan Tragopan Melanocephalus (Prasad 1993). Sandra, Kotigad and Singtur ranges are contiguous with the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary (GWS). Kotigad and Sandra ranges are located to the west of the GWS, north of the Tons river. Kotigad meets the protected area at a high altitude ridge called the Changshil Dhar, which also demarcates the interstate border of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. Sandra range lies between the Kotigad range and the Tons, with its eastern boundary touching the GWS. The Taramandal and Cheenwa blocks of Kotigad range and the Kulni and Balcha blocks of Sandra range are of special value for biodiversity conservation, as they bear temperate mixed, subalpine and alpine vegetation. The rest of these ranges are covered primarily with sub-tropical Chir Pine forests. Singtur range borders the GWS on the west and south of the Tons river. The forests of this range, which have great importance for biodiversity conservation, are the upper temperate forests of Kedarkanta, an important peak on the southwestern boundary of the GWS. The Taramandal block of Kotigad range is supposed to have a small population of Blue Sheep or Bharal Pseudois nayaur (Samant 1995), which could be its southernmost population with respect to the Himalayan axis. The forests in the IBA are dominated by Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii, Deodar, Oak Quercus spp. and other broadleaf species up to about 2,600 m, above which Blue pine Pinus wallichiiana, Silver fir Abies pindrow, Spruce Picea smithiana, Yew Taxus baccata, and other species such as oaks Quercus sp, Maples Acer, Walnut Juglans regia, Hazel Corylus jacquemontii and Rhododendron Rhododendron sp. are predominant (Anon. 1986).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Rashid Raza (pers. comm. 2003) of the Wildlife Institute of India has identified 102 species of birds based on preliminary investigation. Judging by the altitude and habitat type there could be more than 200 species. Among birds, Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii and Western Tragopan, globally threatened species are found here (Bland, 1987). The site harbours representative bird species of Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7) and Eurasian High Montane – Alpine Forest (Biome-5). Detailed studies on the bird life of this important site have not been done. Sathyakumar (in press) conducted surveys for large mammals and galliforms in 1992 in Govind Pashu Vihar and reported six species of galliforms: Kaleej Lophura leucomelanos, Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus, Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha, Chukor Alectoris chukar, Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus and Common Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola. Encounter rates (number/km) for Himalayan Monal ranged from 0.14 to 0.92, for Koklass 0.4 and for Kaleej, 1.6.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The large mammal fauna is diverse and includes Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear U. arctos, Leopard Panthera pardus, Snow Leopard Uncia uncia, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogarter, Barking Deer or Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Goral Nemorhaedus goral, Serow N. sumatraensis, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and Blue Sheep, as well as Wild Boar Sus scrofa (Anon. 1986, Fox et al. 1986).

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 
White-throated Tit Aegithalos niveogularis resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

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%) slow but significant deterioration low
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 hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Govind National Park 47,208 protected area contained by site 47,208  
Govind Pashu Vihar Sanctuary 48,100 protected area contained by site 48,100  


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: Mountaineering Trekking

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Dhananjai Mohan, Rashid H. Raza and S. Sathyakumar.


Anonymous (1986) Indo-U.S. snow leopard project. Progress report for spring 1986. Snow Line 10: 4-5.

Bland, J. D. (1987) Notes on the distribution and ecology of some Himalyan pheasants. World Pheasant Association Journal. 12: 22-29.

Fox, J. L., Sinha, S. P., Chundawat, R. S. and Das, P. K. (1986) A survey of snow leopard and associated species in the Himalaya of northwestern India. Project Completion Report. Wildlife Institute of India/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/International Snow Leopard Trust, Dehra Dun. 51 pp.

Prasad, S. N. (1993) A survey for Western Tragopan habitat in the Upper Tons catchment in Uttar Pradesh from aerospace. SACON, Coimbatore. A report.

S. Sathyakumar. (in press) Status of Galliformes in Govind Pashu Vihar, Uttarkashi, Western Himalaya. Proceedings of the ‘Galliformes in India’ WPA-India Symposium, Shimla, March 1994.

Samant, K. S. (1995) Working Plan for the Tons Forest Division for the period 1995-1996 to 2004-2005, Working Plan Circle, UP Forest Department.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Govind National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Sandra, Kotinad and Singtur ranges (Tons forest division). Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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