A variety of animals and birds are found in Ladakh which are specific to this location. Extreme cold climate and very high altitudes make this location very tough for survival. However as they say Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest”, few species not just survive but thrive in these areas.
Black Necked Crane
Black Necked Cranes are medium sized cranes seen mostly in Tibet, Bhutan and Ladakh region in India. It has a light greyish body, black neck and head with small red crown and black legs. Their breeding areas lakeside, meadows and marshes. These are majorly found near Tso Kar area. We found these birds on the way from Pangong Lake to Hanle near a small lake called Mirpal Tso.
Black Necked Crane was recognised as the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir.
Birds found around Pangong Lake
I had already described more about Pangong Lake in my previous posts. There are a large number of birds living around the lake during summer despite being saline lake. During winters the lake freezes completely making it tough for these birds to survive and hence migrate to different locations. There are 2 major birds found near Pangong Lake – Bar headed goose and Brahmini duck.
I have named it as Jungle Horses as locals call it “Jungli Ghoda”; Jungli means Jungle and Ghoda means Horse. These are commonly called as wildass in English. These are Tibetian wildass also called kiang. Do not confuse this with Indian wildass which are prevalantly found in Kutch region of Gujarat. I have seen them mostly where human habitat is very less and they freely roam around the empty grasslands of Ladakh.
Pashmina is the most famous wool originated from India. The popularity for this fabric has increased during British colonialism. Back then it was fondly called as cashmere wool. These goats are invariably found grazing in these farmlands.
Bactrian Camel (Double humped Camel)
I have mentioned about Bactrian Camels in my post on Nubra Valley and Diskit. These types of camels are found only in Nubra Valley in India. Generally camels are associated with deserts and rightly so these camels have made the cold deserts of Nubra their home.
All of these animals and birds are unique to Ladakh. The ladakhis strive very hard to protect these animals and treat them with respect.