Wildlife of Ladakh - A Photoessay.Friday, February 04, 2011
Ladakh being one of the highest inhabited plateaus and situated amidst formidable mountain ranges makes it one of the preferred destinations to witness remoteness in its truest forms. The same remoteness allows for chance sightings of wildlife just by the roadside. Over the 12 days I was wandering in Ladakh I saw many kinds of birds and animals. Here are few that I managed to capture.
No super wildlife shots here, as you know I am a Landscape photographer and the wildlife seems to be part of a bigger picture in my compositions. I hope you enjoy the tiny specks in the view.
1. Kiang or the Tibetan Wild Ass
The largest of the wild asses, kiang is found in the Tibetan Plateau living between altitudes of 4000 to 7000 meters. These animals are surprisingly athletic and move with amazing grace. With its association to the ass family, I did not expect them to look any pretty bu they do. Kiangs are frequently spotted in Changthang region of Ladakh.
I spotted these kiangs while going through the little traversed route of Mahe - Chushul - Spangmik.
2. Ladakh Urial
First things first, do you spot them in the picture below? Their camouflage is freaking awesome. Well these are the Ladakh Urial I suppose, correct me if I am wrong. Soptted them on the way to Tso Moriri from Leh.
3. Wild Hare
Well again near the Chushul region, we noticed sudden movement on the land in front of us only to find these little creatures running away from us. With great difficulty I managed to capture this one with my 18-55 lens.
4. Bactrian Camel / Double Hump Camel
Well, as the name says these camels have two humps as opposed to the single hump camels found elsewhere. Only a small population of Bactrian Camels were left here in Ladakh long ago which continue till date but all of them have been domesticated. The only surviving wild counterparts of Bactrian camels exist in Mongolia which I hope to see someday. This was shot in Hunder of Nubra Valley.
5. Black Necked Crane
The Chushul marshes are apparently where the black necked cranes migrate every summer. Luckily we spotted few here and there. The marshes were looking amazing for sure.
Nothing much to say about them. :)
Spotted them between Loma and Nyoma after crossing Mahe that is.
7. Himalayan Marmot
These very cute looking creatures similar in appearance to the beavers live in the high mountains and can be found quite often by the roadside in the Changthang region or any place with some grass. Spotted these while returning from Pangong to Leh.
8. Ruddy Shelduck /Brahmini
I have no clue if I have identified them right or not. Spotted them while going to Tso Moriri.
Technically not wildlife, but look how small they look in front of the grand landscape there! Cattle is one of the primary sources of livelihood in Ladakh from what I have seen.
The horses are left freely here and probably they return back to their owners by night fall. Spotted these at many places but this was shot on the farther end of Pangong towards China.