Quick bytes :
Location : Chamoli, Uttarakhand
Area covered : About 967 square kilometers
Known for : Musk Deer and Snow Leopard
Establishing year : 1972
Best Timings : Months between June and November
Located in the district of Chamoli, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary presents a spectacular stretch of the Himalayas that is rich in ice-laden mountainous peaks, dense forests, grasslands, and innumerable exotic species of animals and birds. Popular for plethora of floral and fauna species, this sanctuary remained a reserve forest until 1920, but was changed to a sanctuary in the year 1972. Named after the famous Kedarnath temple, the sanctuary has earned the distinction of being the largest protection area of the western Himalayas.
Topography and ecosystems :
Endowed with pristine snow mountain ranges, glaciers, and lakes, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is marked with amazing landscapes and climatic diversity. Situated in the alpine meadows of India, Tibet, and Nepal, the sanctuary is home to temperate forests of low and coniferous, alpine, and Bugyals of higher altitudes. It is located at the catchment area of Alaknanda River.
Attractions of the place :
Flora : The diversity in geographical and physiological features is the reason behind the presence of rich floral species. Trees of rhododendron, oak, pine, birch, and innumerable flowering plants are found in abundance. Chir pine is found at an altitude of 2000 feet. Vegetation of temperate zone consists of ban Quercus incana, and karsu Quercus semecarpifolia. Oak and fir are generally found at higher altitudes. Among the flowering plants, sedges, lacta, and munda are the most prominent. Apart from these, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several medicinal plants that are known for their herbal properties.
Fauna : The place is laden with innumerable varieties of mammals, reptiles, primates, and birds. Black Bear, leopard cat, jackal, snow leopard, common leopard, and Marten are some of the mammalian species that reside here. Others include wild boar, sambhar, goral, tahr, serow, bharal, and muntjac. Langur and rhesus macau are the primates that can be seen in abundance. Endangered musk deer of the sanctuary can be seen roaming occasionally. Among other mammals that are known to exist here include porcupine, flying squirrel, shrew, snow cock, mountain vole, and royal's pika. The important avifauna comprises of flycatcher, warbler, Himalayan monal, pheasant, and tree-creeper.
Conservation steps :
In order to protect the exotic species of the sanctuary, several conservation steps have been taken. In association with WWF, Indian government has initiated a program related to the threatened deer. A special breeding center has been opened to propagate the species of this rare animal. A botanical field is opened at Tungnath; surveys related to fauna, fish and avifauna are conducted from time to time.
Several Dharamshalas are available at places like Kedarnath, Trijuginarayan, and Gaurikund. One can also stay at Sonprayag and Madhyamaheshwer.