Jammu and Kashmir

Tsokar in Ladakh
© Mahesh Nair
The northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir has some of the most picturesque and ecologically important wetlands. Conservation efforts by WWF are being focused on high altitude wetlands in the Ladakh and Pir Panjal regions.


In Ladakh, the six priority wetlands are Tsomoriri, Tsokar, Pangong Tso, Hanle, Chushul in Leh district and Rungdum in Kargil district. Out of these, Tsomoriri has been designated as a Ramsar site. The common threats to these are:
  • Construction of roads reaching up to the lakes which has opened up this once remote basin to tourism and economic activities
  • Increased human activity, likely to affect the breeding activities of the waterfowl
  • Disturbances to animals like the Wild Ass, which are often chased by jeep safaris
  • Disturbances to the feeding and breeding grounds of the endangered Black-necked Crane
  • Increasing pollution levels in areas of tourist concentration like trekking routes and campsites due to the increase in the number of vehicles
  • The common practice of dumping garbage into nearby streams, as well as, into marmot, mouse hare or vole burrows, in the absence of proper garbage disposal facilities
  • Increased pressure on grazing lands, in addition to the exponential rise in the number of trekkers and pack animals, especially considering the severely limited prospects for pasture regeneration due to extreme climatic conditions in the region
  • Off track driving leading to soil compaction and deep barren jeep tracks which are an increasingly common sight around popular camping grounds in Korzok (Tsomoriri) and Tsokar meadows
© Ragini Letitia Singh/WWF India
Trash mingled with the pure snow of Ladakh
© Ragini Letitia Singh/WWF India

Pir Panjal Wetland Complex

WWF has recently initiated work on Nandan Sar, Chandan Sar, Koker Sar, Neel Sar, Katori Sar and Smat Sar in the Pir Panjal Range. They face the following threats:
  • Excessive grazing by livestock owned by nomads
  • Nomadic camps located very close to the lakes during the summer months, leading to water pollution
  • The recent construction of the Mughal Road in the region, bound to make these lakes more accessible
  • The absence of a proper management plan for the budding tourism in the region
  • The indiscriminate cutting of high altitude plants like junipers which are essential to the ecology of the region
  • Wildlife hunting in the area especially of the Musk Deer and Markhor
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