Monday, September 25, 2023

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve located in the state of Sikkim, India. It is characterized by a diverse range of altitudes, spanning from 1,760 to 4,390 meters above sea level.

The sanctuary is situated at the intersection of the Palearctic realm and the Indomalayan realm, resulting in a rich variety of species. High-altitude lakes, such as Lake Tsongmo, are present within the sanctuary and serve as biodiversity hotspots for migratory birds.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary offers a diverse and ecologically significant environment, making it an important area for wildlife conservation and biodiversity research. 

Table of Contents

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

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Pakyong District of the state of Sikkim in India. It is situated approximately 28 kilometers east of Rorathang and about 40 kilometers by road from Rangpo city. 

The sanctuary is bounded by the Pangolakha Range to the east, which forms the border between Sikkim and Bhutan.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is Pakyong Airport (also known as Pakyong Greenfield Airport). It is located approximately 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) away from the sanctuary. Pakyong Airport is the nearest airport to the sanctuary and provides the most convenient access for travelers.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, there isn't a railway station in close proximity to Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary. The terrain in this region is primarily mountainous, and Sikkim does not have a well-developed railway network. Travelers typically reach the area by road from nearby towns and cities in Sikkim and West Bengal, and Pakyong Airport is the nearest major transportation hub for air travel to the region.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary History

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area established to conserve and protect the region's biodiversity.

Date of Notification: The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary was officially notified on November 7, 2000, under the Wildlife Protection Act of India, 1972.

Geographical Significance: The sanctuary is strategically located in the eastern part of Sikkim, near the border with Bhutan. It is bounded by the Pangolakha Range to the east, which forms the natural boundary separating Sikkim from Bhutan.

Biodiversity: The sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity, including a wide variety of flora and fauna. It falls at the junction of the Palearctic realm and the Indomalayan realm, which contributes to its diverse range of species.

Conservation Efforts: The State Forest Department has established Eco-Development Committees (EDCs) in nearby villages to promote conservation efforts and sustainable development in the region.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 128 square kilometers (49.5 square miles). This sanctuary is home to diverse flora and fauna and is known for its rich biodiversity, making it an important protected area for conservation efforts in the region.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Hills

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the eastern part of Sikkim, India, and it encompasses a range of hills and mountains as part of its geographical features. The sanctuary is nestled within the Pangolakha Range, which forms its eastern boundary and separates Sikkim from Bhutan. These hills and mountains contribute to the sanctuary's diverse topography, altitudinal variations, and ecological significance.

The sanctuary's altitudinal range varies from approximately 1,760 meters (about 5,770 feet) to 4,390 meters (about 14,400 feet), reflecting the hilly and mountainous terrain that characterizes the region. This wide range in elevations contributes to the sanctuary's varied ecosystems and supports a wide array of flora and fauna.

The hills and valleys within the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary provide critical habitats for numerous species of wildlife and contribute to the scenic beauty and ecological importance of the protected area. The sanctuary is also known for its high-altitude lakes, such as Lake Tsongmo, which are nestled within these hills and act as biodiversity hotspots for migratory birds.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is crisscrossed by several rivers and their tributaries that originate within the sanctuary and flow through its territory. These rivers play a crucial role in the sanctuary's ecosystem, providing water and supporting the diverse flora and fauna within the protected area.

Some of the major rivers and water bodies in or near the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary include:

(1) Rangpo River:

Rangpo River is one of the significant rivers originating from the nearby lakes within the sanctuary. It flows through the region, contributing to the water resources and ecosystem of the area.

(2) Jaldhaka River:

Jaldhaka River is another important river originating from the vicinity of the sanctuary. Like Rangpo River, it also flows through the region, and its waters are vital for the local ecosystem.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Lake

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several high-altitude lakes that add to the scenic beauty and ecological significance of the sanctuary. One of the most notable lakes within the sanctuary is Lake Tsongmo. Lake Tsongmo is a picturesque glacial lake situated at an elevation of around 3,780 meters (12,400 feet) above sea level.

Lake Tsongmo is characterized by its clear blue waters and the surrounding rugged terrain, making it a popular tourist destination and an important ecological feature within the sanctuary. The lake is surrounded by steep cliffs and dense forests, contributing to its pristine and serene atmosphere.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

What is the flora of Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by a diverse range of flora, thanks to its varying altitudes and ecosystems. The sanctuary's flora includes various types of vegetation, from alpine to temperate and subtropical species. Here are some of the notable flora found within the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary:

(1) Rhododendron Species:

Rhododendrons are a prominent feature of the sanctuary's vegetation. Sikkim is known for its rhododendron diversity, and the sanctuary is no exception. These colorful flowering shrubs are a common sight, adding vibrant hues to the landscape.

(2) Subtropical Pine Forest:

In lower altitudes, you can find subtropical pine forests, which include species like Himalayan Pine (Pinus roxburghii). These forests are adapted to milder climates compared to higher altitudes.

(3) Subtropical Broadleaf Hill Forest:

As the altitude decreases, you may encounter subtropical broadleaf hill forests, characterized by a variety of broadleaf trees, shrubs, and understory vegetation.

(4) Mixed Coniferous Forest:

The sanctuary is home to mixed coniferous forests, which include a combination of various coniferous tree species like firs, pines, and spruces.

(5) Alpine Moist Pasture:

At higher altitudes, alpine meadows and moist pastures become prevalent. These areas support unique alpine flora adapted to the harsh conditions of high elevations.

(6) Moss-Filled Oak Forests:

Oak forests with dense bamboo thickets and moss-covered ground flora are part of the sanctuary's habitat. These areas are important for biodiversity and provide food and shelter for various wildlife species.

(7) Bamboo Groves:

Bamboo thickets can be found in the sanctuary, offering essential resources for animals like Red Pandas, which feed on bamboo leaves.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

What is the fauna of Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of fauna, including a variety of mammals, birds, and other wildlife species. This sanctuary's rich biodiversity is a result of its varying altitudes, ecosystems, and its location at the intersection of different biogeographic realms. 

Here are some of the notable fauna found within the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary:


  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Takin
  • Red Fox
  • Goral
  • Mainland Serow
  • Musk Deer
  • Yellow-throated Marten
  • Asiatic Black Bear
  • Red Panda
  • Large-eared Pika
  • Siberian Weasel


  • Eurasian Woodcock
  • Wood Snipe
  • Himalayan Monal
  • Satyr Tragopan
  • Blood Pheasant
  • Red Kites 
  • Brahminy Shelduck 
  • Eurasian Woodcock 
  • Wood Snipe 
  • Hill Pigeons 
  • Snow Pigeon 
  • Snow Partridge
  • Himalayan Monal 
  • Gold-naped Black Finch
  • Pallas’s Fish-Eagle 
  • Large Cormorant 
  • Bar-headed Geese 
  • Tibetan Eared Pheasant 
  • Giant Babax
  • Tibetan Eared Pheasant


  • Himalayan Salamander

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. What is Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several reasons, making it a notable and ecologically significant protected area:

(i) Biodiversity: The sanctuary is renowned for its rich biodiversity. It is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including a variety of mammals, birds, and other wildlife species. The presence of apex predators like tigers and leopards adds to its ecological significance.

(ii) Red Panda Habitat: Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is known for being a habitat for the iconic and endangered red panda. This charismatic species is a symbol of conservation efforts in the region.

(iii) Birdwatching: The sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers. It is home to numerous bird species, including the vibrant Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, and many others. Birdwatchers and ornithologists visit the area to observe and study these avian species.

(iv) High-Altitude Lakes: The sanctuary features high-altitude lakes like Lake Tsongmo, which are not only visually stunning but also serve as biodiversity hotspots for migratory birds.

(v) Picturesque Landscapes: The sanctuary offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan landscapes, including rugged hills, dense forests, and alpine meadows. It is a destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers seeking pristine natural beauty.

(vi) Cultural Significance: The sanctuary also holds cultural significance, as it is located in a region with a rich cultural heritage, including traditions of local communities living in and around the sanctuary.

(vii) Transboundary Conservation: The sanctuary is linked to the forests of Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal, India, and the forests of Bhutan. It contributes to transboundary conservation efforts in the Eastern Himalayas.

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary

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