Monday, September 25, 2023

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Indian state of Sikkim, which is situated in the northeastern part of the country. Sikkim is known for its stunning Himalayan landscapes and rich biodiversity, and Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the many natural gems in this region. 

The sanctuary ranges in altitude from 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) to 3,500 meters (11,483 feet) above sea level. This variation in elevation contributes to its diverse range of flora and fauna.

The sanctuary is a popular destination for trekkers and nature enthusiasts. There are trekking trails that lead to the Maenam Peak, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan mountains. The trails are typically moderate to challenging, and the trek provides an opportunity to experience the sanctuary's natural beauty up close.

It is the first Wildlife Sanctuary in India to soon have its own one of a kind wildlife skywalk. The planned wildlife skywalk is an exciting initiative that will provide visitors with a unique perspective of the sanctuary's natural beauty and rugged terrain. It's great to see efforts to promote eco-tourism while maintaining the integrity of the sanctuary.

The best time to visit Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is during the spring and summer months, from March to May, when the weather is pleasant, and the flora is in full bloom. Autumn (September to November) is also a good time to visit.

Table of Contents

  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Hills
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Location

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the southern part of the Indian state of Sikkim. It is situated near the town of Ravangla, which is in the Namchi district of Sikkim. The sanctuary is nestled in the Himalayan region of northeastern India. 

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is the Pakyong Airport (also known as Sikkim Airport), which is approximately 53 kilometers (33 miles) away. Pakyong Airport is the closest airport to the sanctuary and offers limited domestic flight services.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is the major railway station serving the region. It is located in the town of Siliguri in West Bengal, India. New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is well-connected to various major cities in India and is the most common entry point for travelers visiting Sikkim. From New Jalpaiguri, you can continue your journey to Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary by road, which is approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary History

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary has a history closely tied to its establishment as a protected area and its subsequent conservation efforts. Here is a brief history of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary:

Establishment: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary was officially established on March 9, 1987, through a government notification. The sanctuary was designated to protect the rich biodiversity of the region, including its unique flora and fauna.

Rich Cultural Heritage: The sanctuary is not only significant for its natural beauty but also for its cultural heritage. At the top of the Maenam-Tendong ridge within the sanctuary, there is a historical Buddhist monastery known as the Maenam Gompa. This adds to the cultural importance of the sanctuary.

Infrastructure Development: In recent years, there have been plans to develop infrastructure within the sanctuary to enhance the visitor experience. Notably, there has been a proposal to construct a wildlife skywalk, which would be the first of its kind in India, offering visitors stunning views of the sanctuary's rugged terrain.

Watershed Value: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary plays a crucial role in the local ecology by serving as a watershed. It is the source of perennial water for the region, including towns like Namchi and Ravangla, which depend on the sanctuary's water sources for various purposes.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Area

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 35.34 square kilometers (13.65 square miles). The sanctuary's relatively small size is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it an important conservation area and a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and trekkers.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Hills

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the hills of southern Sikkim, India. It is situated on the Maenam-Tendong ridge, which runs north-south and bisects Sikkim longitudinally. The sanctuary is characterized by its rugged terrain and varying elevations, ranging from approximately 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) to 3,500 meters (11,483 feet) above sea level.

The sanctuary's hilly landscape contributes to its diverse ecosystems, including temperate forests, rhododendron groves, bamboo thickets, and stabilized scree slopes. This varied topography provides habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species.

The hills and slopes within the sanctuary offer excellent trekking opportunities, with trails leading to the Maenam Peak, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan mountains. 

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary River

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim, India, is primarily drained by two major rivers:

(1) Teesta River:

To the east of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary lies the Teesta River, which is one of the most important rivers in the Indian state of Sikkim. The sanctuary contributes to the Teesta's watershed value, as it serves as a source of perennial water for the region. 

The Teesta River flows through the eastern part of Sikkim, and its waters are used for various purposes, including agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, and as a water source for towns and villages in the region.

(2) Rangit River:

To the west of the sanctuary, the Rangit River flows. It is another significant river in Sikkim and shares a similar role in the local ecology and economy, providing water resources for irrigation and power generation.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a rich and diverse range of flora due to its varying altitudes and ecosystems. Here are some of the prominent flora found within the sanctuary:

(1) Temperate Broadleaved Mixed Forests:

In the lower elevations of the sanctuary, you can find temperate broadleaved mixed forests. These forests consist of various tree species, including oak (such as Quercus spp.), chestnut (Castanopsis spp.), and various species of rhododendron.

(2) Temperate Coniferous Forests:

As you ascend to higher altitudes, temperate coniferous forests become dominant. These forests feature coniferous trees like fir, spruce, and pine, such as the Himalayan blue pine (Pinus wallichiana).

(3) Rhododendron Groves:

The sanctuary is renowned for its rhododendron groves. Rhododendron species like Rhododendron campanulatum, Rhododendron thomsonii, and others are common and add vibrant colors during the flowering season.

(4) Bamboo Thickets:

Bamboo thickets are prevalent in some parts of the sanctuary. Bamboos are an essential component of the forest ecosystem and provide habitat and food for various wildlife species.

(5) Medicinal Plants:

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its diverse range of endemic medicinal plants. “Maenam-la” translates to the “Treasury of Medicines”, being a rich trove of medicinal plants. These plants have traditional and medicinal uses and contribute to the local biodiversity.

(6) Other Understory Plants:

Understory plants in the sanctuary include species like Viburnum erubescens, Rosa sericea, Rubus spp., Machilus spp., and Symplocos glomerata, among others.

(7) Mosses and Ferns:

Mosses and ferns are common in the moist and shaded areas of the sanctuary, particularly in the lower elevations where humidity is higher.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

What animals are in the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary?

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim, India, is home to a diverse range of fauna, including mammals, birds, and other wildlife species. Here are some of the notable fauna found within the sanctuary:


  • Red Panda
  • Musk Deer
  • Leopard
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Leopard Cat
  • Himalayan Black Bear
  • Mainland Serow
  • Goral 
  • Barking Deer 
  • Mouse Hare
  • Particoloured Flying Squirrel 
  • Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel 
  • Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel 
  • Yellow-throated Marten 
  • Assamese Macaque
  • Himalayan Crestless Porcupine


  • Blood Pheasant
  • Satyr Tragopan
  • Monal Pheasant
  • Khaleej Pheasant
  • Hodgson’s Frogmouth 
  • Grey Peacock Pheasant 
  • Pale-headed Woodpecker 
  • Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 
  • Sultan Tit
  • Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler
  • Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler
  • Hoary-throated Barwing
  • White-naped Yuhina
  • Broad-billed Flycatcher-Warbler


  • Snakes
  • Lizards

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. How many species are in the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of species, including flora and fauna. However, it's challenging to provide an exact number of species within the sanctuary because biodiversity can vary over time and depending on the criteria used for classification. The sanctuary encompasses a variety of habitats, from temperate forests to rhododendron groves, and supports a rich array of plant and animal life.

Q. What is Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several notable features and attributes, making it a popular and cherished destination for nature enthusiasts, researchers, and tourists. Some of the key reasons for its fame include:

(i) Rich Biodiversity: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its diverse and unique flora and fauna. It is home to a wide range of plant species, including medicinal plants and rhododendron groves. The sanctuary also hosts various mammals, birds, and other wildlife species, including the iconic red panda.

(ii) Red Panda Conservation: The sanctuary is a vital conservation area for the endangered red panda. It is one of the flagship species in the region, and efforts are made to protect and conserve this charismatic animal within its natural habitat.

(iii) Scenic Beauty: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary offers breathtaking natural landscapes with stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. Trekking trails, including those leading to Maenam Peak, provide visitors with the opportunity to experience this scenic beauty up close.

(iv) Cultural Significance: The sanctuary is home to the historic Maenam Gompa, a Buddhist monastery located at the top of the Maenam-Tendong ridge. This adds to the cultural and spiritual significance of the region.

(v) Proposed Wildlife Skywalk: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is set to become home to India's first wildlife skywalk, offering visitors an exciting and unique perspective of the sanctuary's rugged terrain and stunning vistas.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary

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