The lofty heights and deep valleys of Hemis National Park form one of the largest protected areas in India. Home to a long list of evocative high montane species, the park is known to all mammal aficionados as the place to search out the Snow Leopard. But there are many other interesting mammal species to be seen here. The most common species of large mammal, and indeed the most important food source for the leopards, is the Blue Sheep.
Blue Sheep, also commonly known as Bharal, are a particularly agile and attractive species, with their flank stripe and variable black and white leg markings. To boot, the males grow an impressive set of horns. They have a wide range throughout the high mountainous areas of central Asia, being found from Pakistan across to inner Mongolia, and because they generally inhabit remote and rugged areas with a low density of humans, the species remains abundant throughout much of its native range. Hemis National Park has one of the highest densities of this sheep to be found anywhere, and as we walk and scan the area we can expect daily sightings. Herds of these sheep graze constantly on the hillsides and valleys, and can at times be quite approachable; however, since their most feared predator can attack at any time, especially here at Hemis, they are always on high alert.
During our visit to Hemis, we will also be seeking out two other species of alpine sheep, the beautiful Urial and the very impressive Argali. We will be on constant lookout for some of the scarce carnivores that can be seen here, such as Wolf and Eurasian Lynx, but it goes without saying that our main focus will be to obtain excellent views of Snow Leopard.
Sightings here are improving each year, and there has never been a better time to visit!
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