Thursday, August 10, 2023

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species. 

The sanctuary encompasses the famous tourist destination of Gulmarg, which is known for its picturesque landscapes, skiing opportunities, and other outdoor activities. The area is one of the best world renowned tourist destination for its famous meadows ,rocky cliffs, dense birch forests and a home for bird watcher. 

Some of the wildlife species that can be found in the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary include the Himalayan musk deer, red fox, brown bear, snow leopard, and various species of birds like the monal pheasant, koklass pheasant, and blue magpie. The sanctuary provides an important habitat for these and other species, contributing to their conservation and protection.

Table of Contents

  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Mountains
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Gulmarg, Baramulla district of Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary falls 26 Kms to the SouthWest of District Baramulla.

It surrounds the popular hill station of Gulmarg, which is situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Western Himalayas. Gulmarg is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the capital city of Srinagar.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is the Srinagar International Airport (Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport). It is located in Srinagar, the capital city of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The airport is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Gulmarg.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

Regarding the nearest railway station, the Jammu Tawi Railway Station is one of the major railway stations in the region and is often used as a gateway to the Kashmir Valley. Gulmarg is 290 kilometers away from Jammu Tawi Railway Station.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary History

What is the history of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary?

Game Reserve Declaration: The origins of the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary trace back to the early 1980s when it was first designated as a game reserve. In 1981, recognizing the importance of preserving the unique biodiversity and natural beauty of the region, authorities took the initial step of declaring the area as a game reserve. This marked the beginning of a focused effort to protect the indigenous flora and fauna that called the sanctuary home.

Upgradation to Sanctuary Status: Building upon the foundation laid by its designation as a game reserve, the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary achieved a significant milestone in its conservation journey. In 1987, the sanctuary's status was elevated as it was officially upgraded to a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary. This upgradation underscored the growing awareness of the sanctuary's ecological value and the need for more comprehensive conservation measures.

Preservation of Biodiversity and Habitat: The transition from a game reserve to a wildlife sanctuary brought about an intensified commitment to the preservation of the sanctuary's rich biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. 

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of approximately 180 square kilometers (69 square miles). This expansive sanctuary encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems and habitats, making it an important area for the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of various plant and animal species. 

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Mountains

The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is located amidst the picturesque Mountains of the Pir Panjal range in the Western Himalayas. This sanctuary is renowned for its stunning alpine landscapes, lush meadows, dense forests, and rolling hills that contribute to its breathtaking natural beauty. 

The sanctuary's hilly terrain is an integral part of its charm, providing a range of habitats for different flora and fauna. These hills not only offer scenic vistas but also serve as critical habitats for species such as the Himalayan musk deer, red fox, brown bear, snow leopard, and a variety of bird species.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

What is the flora of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary exhibits a diverse range of vegetation types, each shaped by the specific habitat and prevailing dominance of floral species. These vegetation communities are influenced and regulated by a combination of physical and biological factors, including altitude, aspect, habitat conditions, and the impact of living organisms.

The slopes and depressions within the sanctuary showcase purely natural vegetation, predominantly characterized by coniferous growth, constituting approximately 85% to 90% of the total woodland cover. The area can be categorized into several major forest types, each with distinct characteristics.

(1) Blue Pine Woodland:

The dominant feature of this community is the Kail tree (Pinus griffithii), interspersed in some areas with stands of spruce (Picea smithiana), yew (Taxus wallichiana), maple (Acer cappadocicum), and horse chestnut (Aesculus indica). The understory of indigofera heterantha, rose webbina, and viburnum cappadocicum is relatively sparse. This woodland occurs in small patches at lower altitudes, primarily on the dry aspects of the slopes.

(2) Silver Fir Forest:

The silver fir (Abies pindrow) growth is limited to mountain grooves and moist aspects at higher elevations. At lower elevations, it coexists with Kail, yew, spruce, horse chestnut, and an undergrowth of viburnum grandiflorum and Skimmia lawreana. At higher elevations, patches of juniperus communis, Betula utilis stands, and coniferous regeneration become more prominent.

(3) Birch:

This grouping is characterized by a well-defined stratification of birch (Betula utilis) and is distributed between altitudes of 3,000 to 3,500 meters. It thrives in mountain grooves and shaded areas in the sanctuary, often alongside the silver fir.

(4) Sub Alpine Forest:

The key members of this forest type include fir, Kail, spruce, yew, and birch. It has further been subdivided into distinct communities based on specific characteristics.

(5) Alpine Pastures:

The expansive pastures beyond the tree line flourish with a vibrant ground layer of herbaceous vegetation, including species such as inula grandiflora, primula elliptica, potentilla gelida, corydalis cornuta, gentian venusta, Anemone obtusiloba, Aquilegia nivales, polygonum affine, P. alpinum, and Rumex acetosa.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of fauna, reflecting its varied habitats and ecological richness. The sanctuary provides a habitat for numerous species, including both resident and migratory animals. 

Here are some examples of the fauna that can be found within the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary:


  • Kashmir Musk Deer
  • Asiatic Black Bear
  • Himalayan Brown Bear
  • Common Leopard
  • Red Fox
  • Jungle Cat
  • Leopard Cat
  • Brown Musk Shrew
  • Small Indian Mangoose
  • Yellow Throated Martin
  • Kashmir Vampire
  • Kashmir House Rat
  • Short-Tailed Bandicoot Rat
  • Birch Mouse
  • Small Kashmir Flying Squirrel
  • Tibetan Wolf 
  • Grey Langur
  • Rhesus Macaque


  • Grey Heron
  • Pond Heron or Paddy Bird
  • Blackeared Kite 
  • Eurasian Sparrow Hawk 
  • Golden Eagle
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Beared Vulture
  • Himalayan Snow Cock 
  • Chukar Partridge
  • Monal Pheasant
  • Koklas Pheasant
  • Snow Pigeon
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Eurasian Cuckoo
  • Himalayan Pied Kingfisher
  • Himalayan Bulbul
  • Black Bulbul 
  • Paradise Flycatcher 
  • Himalayan Ruby throat 


  • Snakes
  • Lizards

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is located in which state?

A. The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Baramulla district of Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It encompasses a picturesque area surrounding the popular hill station of Gulmarg, situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Western Himalayas.

Q. When was Gulmarg declared as wildlife sanctuary?

A. The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary was first declared as a protected area in the form of a game reserve in the year 1981. Later, it was upgraded to a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary in 1987. This designation aimed to provide a higher level of protection and conservation for the diverse flora and fauna found within the sanctuary's boundaries.

Q. What is Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several reasons:

(i) Biodiversity: The sanctuary is renowned for its diverse range of flora and fauna. It provides a habitat for various wildlife species, including the Himalayan musk deer, red fox, brown bear, snow leopard, and numerous bird species. This rich biodiversity attracts nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers, and researchers.

(ii) Scenic Beauty: The sanctuary is situated in the picturesque Pir Panjal range of the Western Himalayas. Its stunning landscapes, including lush meadows, dense forests, and alpine habitats, offer breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor activities like trekking and wildlife spotting.

(iii) Tourism and Adventure: The sanctuary is a popular destination for eco-tourism and adventure activities. Visitors can explore the natural beauty, enjoy hiking and trekking trails, and experience the thrill of spotting wildlife in its natural habitat.

(iv) Skiing and Winter Sports: Gulmarg, the town located within the sanctuary, is famous for its skiing and winter sports opportunities. The sanctuary's snowy landscapes and alpine terrain attract skiing enthusiasts from around the world.

(v) Cultural Significance: The sanctuary is located in close proximity to the town of Gulmarg, which is known for its historical and cultural significance. The area has been a popular retreat for centuries, and it offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary

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