Wildlife of Sikkim
Sikkim being an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, it is one of the three Ecoregions of India. The thick forest has diverse range of fauna and flora. It has a wide variety of plants and is one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity in a small area.
Flora of Sikkim includes the rhododerndron, the state tree, with a huge range of species from subtropical to alpine regions. Orchids, figs, laurel, bananas, sal trees, bamboo, oaks, chestnuts, maples, birchs, alders and magnolias are abundant in this region. It also grows juniper, pine, firs and cypresses. Sikkim boasts of having around 5,000 flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primulas species, 36 rhododendrons species, 11 oaks varieties, 23 bamboos varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns, 8 tree ferns, and over 424 medicinal plants. The orchid Dendrobium nobile is the official flower of Sikkim.
Fauna of Sikkim includes the snow leopard, the musk deer, the Bhoral, the Himalayan Tahr, the red panda, the Himalayan marmot, the serow, the goral, the barking deer, the common langur, the Himalayan Black Bear, the clouded leopard, the Marbled Cat, the leopard cat, the wild dog, the Tibetan wolf, the hog badger, the binturong, the jungle cat and the civet cat. In alpine region, the animals found are yaks, mainly reared for their milk, meat, and as a beast of burden.
Avifauna of Sikkim includes Impeyan pheasant, the crimson horned pheasant, the snow partridge, the snow cock, the lammergeyer and griffon vultures, as well as golden eagles, quail, plovers, woodcock, sandpipers, pigeons, Old World flycatchers, babblers and robins. A total of 550 species of birds have been recorded in Sikkim, some of them belong to endangered species. The following are the National Parks and Sanctuaries of Sikkim.
Kanchendzonga National Park
Spread across an area of 850sq km, Kanchendzonga National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Sikkim. The third highest peak on the planet – the Kanchendzonga, straddles the western boundary of the park, from which the reserve gets its name. It also includes the vast Zemu Glacier. Situated in such an inaccessible expanse, the region has remained untouched to quite a large extent. It is the home to the snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan antelope, wild ass, barking deer, musk deer, flying squirrel and the red panda who live in blissful isolation amongst giant magnolias, rhododendrons and pine forests.
Located at the region 15km from Gangtok, the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary sprawls across an area of 5,200ha, and one of its boundaries also fringes the Tashi Viewpoint. The sanctuary supports a large variety of birds and butterflies along with a population of leopards, red pandas, civet cats and the Himalayan black bear.
Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Located in North Sikkim, Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary covers a small area of 33ha, and is the best place to see more than 20 different species of rhododendrons endemic to Sikkim. The sanctuary also has a small population of tigers, civets and some birds, including the beautiful blood pheasant which is the state bird of Sikkim.
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
Southern Sikkim has the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, spread across 3,500ha of land. The temperate forest is home to the red panda, leopard, black eagle and civet cat amongst other animals and birds found in the region. The 3,260ft high Maenam Peak also lies within the confines of the reserve. Rabongla is the closest town to the Sanctuary.
Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary
Adjoining the Changu Lake, the 400ha Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is at a distance of 36km from Gangtok. This highland sanctuary supports a fascinating array of rhododendrons, primroses, poppies and a variety of wild flowers. It is the home to the gravely endangered musk deer, red panda, Himalayan black bear, serow (long-haired goat) and some species of pheasants.
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