Ladakh wildlife consists of some of the rarest and most exotic animals and birds of the Himalayan plateau. The alpine climate and the Rocky Mountains have supported a range of rich wildlife in the Leh Ladakh region of Kashmir.
Some of the most exotic Himalayan birds can be found in the Ladakh
region. Tibetan snow cocks, griffon vultures, lammergeyers or bearded
vultures, etc are some of the native birds of Ladakh. One can also find
a number of migratory birds in Ladakh including the charming
The wildlife in Ladakh region of India consists of the following
Yak, wild ox, is the largest animal of the Ladakh region. It can be
easily seen grazing in the Himalayan valley at heights of over 6,000
meters. An herbivore, it has long black hair tinged with gray at the
muzzle. Also, wild yaks migrate to lower regions of the Himalayas in
Nyan is the largest wild sheep found in this region and is also known
by the name of Big-Horned sheep or the Great Tibetan sheep. Nyan can be
easily seen on the heights above 4,500 m in northeastern Ladakh.
Urial is the smallest sheep of the world and is usually found at a
height of 3000-4000 m. They have horns measuring 99 cm, which is almost
as long as their bodies. Slowly depleting in number, they are highly
vulnerable to local hunters.
This gray-blue sheep is found at altitudes higher than 6000 m. Known as
Bharal or Blue Sheep because of its color, it has qualities of both
sheep and goats.
Ibex is one of the most beautiful goats found in this region. It is
known for its huge horns curving backwards in a spiral that can be long
as 147 cm. These goats usually move in herds of 10-16.
One of the most renowned as well as most endangered animals of Ladakh
is Chiru or Tibetan Antelope. It is hunted for its fine underbelly wool
used to make Shahtoosh, an incredibly soft woolen fiber. It is usually
seen in the Aksai Chin region in small herds. To protect this endangered
species, the government has banned trade in Shahtoosh.
The main predator found in the Himalayan region is the beautiful Snow
Leopard. Another endangered species, it is hunted for its silver gray
pelt. It preys on the wild sheep and goats of the Ladakh region.
Some other animals forming a part of the Ladakh wildlife are the
Himalayan Brown Bear, the Himalayan Black Bear, the Himalayan Wolf, the
King or Himalayan Wild Ass etc.