Sunday, July 14, 2024

The Himalayan Sub-Region

The species in the high Himalayas show strong affinities with palaeartic region as some of the animals are found both in the oriental region as well as palaeartic region indicating the possibility of their migration from the other side of India.

The region has accordingly been divided into three sub zones.

  • The forested area (Himalayan foot hills) of the Himalayas from Assam to the Eastern part of Kashmir.

  • The higher altitude of the western Himalayas from Kashmir including Ladakh to the hills.

  • The Eastern Himalayan sub-region.

a) The forested Area of Himalayas (Himalayan Foothills)

The area covers, bhabar, tarai and siwalik ranges in the south. The area is covered with tropical forests. The dominant species is sal. The area is characterized by tall grassy meadows with adjoining river-beds and river rain forests of khair and sisoo. This is an area of big mammals. The elephant, sambar, swamp deer, cheetel, hog deer, barking deer, wild boar, tiger, panther, wild dog, black and sloth bear are found in this area. Hyena, and jackal are scavengers. The great Indian one horned rhinoceros, which is considered a rare species is found in Assam. Other large bovid, wild buffalo shares its habitat with rhinoceros. Wild buffalo is also an endangered species . The brow-antlered deer, the dancing deer, which is one of the most threatened deer in the world is found in Manipur. The Gangetic gharial exists in the Himalayan tributaries. Bispid hare and pigmy hog which are on the verge of extinction and golden langur are found in Manas National Park in Assam.

The Kaziranga National Park in Assam (famous for one horned rhinoceros), Sirohi and Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur (famous for brow antlered deer), and Corbett, Dadhwa and Rajaji National Parks in Uttar Pradesh are located in this sub region.

b) The high altitude sub-region of Western Himalayas

With increase in altitude in the western part of the Himalayan sub region, the tropical forests merge into the temperate type. The zone forests, oak, rhododendron, dwarf hill bamboo, followed by Alpine pastures up to the snow-line. The desert plateau of Ladakh is in the north-west. When there is severe winter in the Alpine Zone, a number of species migrate to the coniferous forests in the southern part and move up to their homes in the Alpine region with the on set of summer.

The animals found in the high altitude region are, wild ass, wild goats, sheep and yak. The species of wild goat are thar, markhor and ibex. Thar roams in coniferous forests. Markhor which is considered to be the finest goat is found above the tree-line. A very agile goat with rich fur, it climbs the tree to browse its leaves. The Ibex live above the tree-line and below the snowline. The three species of wild sheep found here are nayan, bharal and oriel. These sheep feed on the Alpine meadows and grassy mountain slopes. The antelopes found are chiru and Tibetan gazelle.

Hangul or Kashmir's stag, shou and musk-deer, are the members of the deer family is in this zone. These rare deer require special attention for their protection. The small animals of the Zone are marmot, mouse hare and flying squirrel. Among mammals of the Zone is snow-leopard, the most beautiful animal hunted for its attractive skin. Wolf, fox, black and brown bear, palas, cats are other predators. A large number of pheasants, snow partridges, snow cocks, golden eagle are the birds of this sub-region.

The National Park in this Zone are Dachigan, Khistwar and Hemis high altitude National Parks in Jammu and Kashmir, Great Himalayan and Pin Valley National Parks in Himachal Pradesh and Gangotri, Nanda Devi, Govind Pashu Vihar and Valley of flowers National Parks in Uttar Pradesh.

c) The Eastern Himalayan Sub Zone

The Eastern Himalayan region differs from the western region. There is high rainfall and less snowfall confined to high altitude. The vegetation in this zone consist of oak, birches, magnolias, pine, fir, yew, rhododendron dwarf, bamboo and moss and fem. The typical species of the zone characterized by Indo-Chinese fauna are red pandas, badgers, porcupines, ferrests etc. The goats found in this area are serow goral and takin.

The National Park falling in this zone is Khangchandonga, National Park in Sikkim and Neora Valley and Singlila National Park in West Bengal.