The region of Sikkim is not only known for its pristine hilly beauty and mesmerizing landscape, but also for the richness of the varied wildlife. The Wildlife of Sikkim is pretty diverse than the other wildlife destinations in India due to the varied altitude of the region. The varying height of the landscape of Sikkim offers a variety of different flora and fauna in the various parts of this Himalayan state. From the tropical area to the Alpine area, the hilly terrain of Sikkim has the best and varied landscape and ecology which is the reason for the thriving wildlife. The wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Sikkim are the best places to spend your holiday exploring the unique and rich wildlife. The flourishing dense forests of Sikkim make the perfect natural habitat for the varied wild animals and exotic birds of the hilly terrain of Sikkim. The various species of wild animals enriching the wildlife of Sikkim are the snow leopard, leopard, Himalayan bear, red panda, wild ass, musk deer and many others.
The wildlife of the alpine territory of Sikkim prominently saw the presence of Yaks, which is a wild as well as a domestic animal in this region. Residents of this region used to get wool, meat and milk from this animal for their family use as well as for the trade. The barking deer and musk deer can easily be spotted in the wilds of Sikkim. The musk deer are the endangered wild animal species and can be seen in the higher altitudes of Sikkim. The Red Panda is the real charmer of the wildlife of Sikkim with its cute presence on the treetops. The Red Panda is the official state animal of Sikkim and can be spotted on the treetops at the higher altitudes ranging from 6,000 ft to 12,000 ft. The snow leopards are also one of the prime animals of the higher altitude region in Sikkim. Apart from the wild animals, the avifauna of Sikkim also attracts the bird lovers and enriches the wildlife of Sikkim with its soothing presence. There are around 600 species of exotic birds which includes Crimson Horned Pheasant, Impeyan Pheasant, Lammergeyer, Snow Cock, Wood Cock, Pigeons, etc. The varying altitudes of Sikkim are also the natural habitat of more than 650 butterfly species which are the vibrant addition to the avifauna of Sikkim.
Below are the prime wildlife destinations in Sikkim where you can visit to quench your thirst for the sighting of the wildlife of this Himalayan state-
Khangchendzonga National Park
Located in the Yuksom town of Sikkim, the Khangchendzonga National Park spreads in the area of 1784 sq km and offers a magnificent sighting of the rich and exotic wildlife which includes the species like Red Panda, Great Tibetan Sheep, Snow Leopard, Musk Deer and many other animals. With a large number of exotic birds as its habitat, the park is also a heaven for the bird watchers. The birds like Black-necked Crane, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Grusnigricollis, Satyr Tragopan, Snow Cock, etc. are the prime avifauna species of the Khangchendzonga National Park. The 18 high altitude glaciers which include the famous Zemu Glacier and the majestic views of around 19 mountain peaks of the Great Himalayan range which include the Mount Khangchendzonga peak are the prime attraction of the beautiful landscape of the Khangchendzonga National Park. The park is the UNESCO World Heritage Site for its amazing wildlife at the high altitude ecology.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Situated in the small town of Lachen in Sikkim, the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary attracts wildlife enthusiasts as well as Nature lover alike. The sanctuary is surrounded by the picturesque hills of the Himalayan range and the striking beauty of Nature. As the name suggests, the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary will impress you with its large array of different species of the Rhododendron trees. During the season of spring, this fabulous attraction of the park comes to the life and mesmerizes visitors with its unmatched beauty when the flowers sprawled far and wide covering around the 43 sq km area. There are more than 40 different species of the rhododendron trees in this sanctuary, which also is the home to some exotic bird species such as hoary-throated barwingand wood snipe. The other species of plants and trees that enhance the lushness of the vegetation of this sanctuary are aconites, potentillas, gentians, primulas, poppies, saxifrages, etc. The Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is also a popular destination in Sikkim for the trek loving tourists.
Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
Located in the West Sikkim district near the city of Soreng in Sikkim, the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is the example of Nature’s enchanting beauty. The sanctuary spreads in the 104 sq km area in the butterfly shape of the landscape on the Singalila Mountain Ridge. It is among the prime wildlife destination and a famous Nature trekking route in Sikkim. The park is brimming with the captivating lush greenery and offers the enchanting scenic view of Nature. The sanctuary boasts of its numerous species of Rhododendron trees along with the other vegetations which comprise of Oak, Magnolia, Pine and Primula. The wildlife of this sanctuary is enriched by the native wild animals such as Himalayan Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard cat, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Langur and few other animals. The avifauna of this sanctuary attracts the bird lovers with the exotic species like Monal Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, Crimson Horned Pheasant and many other bird species. You can also get a scenic view of the snow-covered pick of the Mt. Khangchendzonga from the park. The sanctuary has three different entry gates for the trekking which are Hilley, Soreng and Dentam. The closeness to Nature in the tranquil and refreshing environment is very soothing and energizing to mind while exploring this beautiful sanctuary on your foot, especially, during the spring season when the Rhododendron flowers blossom in full swing covering almost whole region and give the vibrant and colorful background to the sanctuary.
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
The prime attraction of Namchi, the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is an awesome tourist destination of the south Sikkim for the wildlife and Nature-loving visitors. The mesmerizing beauty of the sanctuary is a marvel for the people who want to spend their time amidst Nature and tranquility. Located at an altitude of around 10,600 ft on the Maenam-Tendong Ridge, the sanctuary spreads in around 36 sq km area with having lush vegetation of medicinal plants. The sanctuary has the abundance of medicinal plants and herbs thus also known as the treasure house of medicine. The fauna of this unique wildlife sanctuary consist of the endangered Himalayan Red Panda, Leopard cat, Marbled cat, Serow, Barking Deer, Goral, Civet cat and many other local animals. The park also a perfect natural habitat for the exotic birds like Common Hill Partridge, Magpies, Blue-necked Pita, Blood Pheasant, Sunbird, Black Eagle, etc. This wildlife sanctuary is best explored on foot making it a great place for Nature trekking. The trek in this park is popular among the adventure-seeking tourists as the trail goes up towards the peak of the Maenam Hill and then further towards the Bhalay-Dhunga. The scenic view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga and the river Teesta from the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary make a mesmerizing sight, a treat for Wildlife and Nature lovers.