Fauna

The fauna of Jammu and Kashmir is unique and diverse due to its geographical location, allowing for influences of the Tibetan elements mixed with those of the Himalayan and the peninsular Indian elements. However, Kazinag is located in the western part of the state, the Jhelum river gorge allowing for elements from the outer Himalaya access to the valley. Thus this area sees faunal species such as the goral Nemorhaedus goral and the recently sighted wild boar Sus scrofa. The important large herbivores in Kazinag include markhor Capra falconeri, Kashmir musk deer Moschus cupereus, goral and wild boar. Markhor is a threatened species and needs immediate conservation intervention as illegal hunting, poorly-planned developmental activities, habitat fragmentation and livestock grazing has led to its precipitous decline. Currently, only about 350 individuals are left in a small part of its erstwhile distribution range in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Kashmir musk deer is endangered and poaching and livestock grazing are the main threats.  Large carnivores include Himalayan brown bear Ursus arctos, Himalayan black bear Ursus thibetanus, common leopard Panthera pardus and the small carnivores include Yellow-throated marten Martes flavigulaleopard cat Prionailurus bengalensisand Himalayan Weasel Mustela sibricaHimalayan grey langur Semnopithecus ajax and rhesus macaque Macaca mullata are the two primate species found here.

Markhor

Capra falconeri

Markhor, the largest wild goat is also an endangered species . Sub species falconeri is sporadically distributed in Jammu and Kashmir in the Pir Panjal and the Kazinag ranges . Usually, markhor is found at around 4000 m in summer but in winter may descend to low and mid elevations.The cliffs and steep forested slopes of Methwani, Gujjar, Malangan and Naganari nallahs are important areas for distribution of markhor in Kazinag. Ranjitsinh et al. (2005) estimated about 300 individuals of markhor in Kazinag. Habitats preferred by markhor are those involving steep slopes (>45o) in summer and less steep during winters, a manifestation of competition exerted by domestic sheep and goat, driving the markhor into steep inaccessible cliffs with inferior graze . Markhor were in the past threatened due to local hunting, especially in winter and also due to competition with migrant livestock. Sporadic hunting may occur even now.

Kashmir Musk Deer

Moschus cupreus

Musk deer  is a primitive deer-like ruminant belonging to the family Moschidae and inhabits the forested and alpine scrub habitats of mountains in Asia.  Kashmir musk deer is endemic to Kashmir region of Jammu and Kashmir State and is Endangered. They mainly occur along the northern bank of Jhelum River. They measure about 50 cm at the shoulder, and weigh about 13–15 kg. Musk deer have long pointed central hooves and enlarged lateral hooves known as dew claws that provide a firm grip on steep ground, even on slanting tree trunks that they climb for forage, and that minimise sinking in soft snow.  Kazinag harbours a good population of musk deer than any other PA in Kashmir. Sighting musk deer in Kazinag here is comparatively easier than any other PA of Kashmir. Like other species of musk deer, this species has also been exploited for musk. . Musk deer possesses the invaluable musk for which it is killed. The rampant poaching before a decade has reduced its numbers but the current protection measures are helping to recover it atleast in PAs like Kazinag.

Black Bear

Ursus thibetanus

Asiatic black bears are widely distributed across the forests of the valley. Kazinag NP is one of the potential black bear areas. The Asiatic black bear is medium sized black- coloured bear with a prominent crescent-shaped mark on the chest. Adult males range from 50-200 kg and adult females range from 40 –125 kg. Black bears are good tree climbers. Asiatic black bears live in forested areas around hills and mountains and rarely go above tree line. Bear-human conflict has shown sharp increase in Kashmir during the recent years. Bears are killed in retaliation of human attacks. Land use change, habitat degradation and increase in bear population are regarded as the main factors for increased conflict. The major threats to black bear have been its poaching for wildlife trade, habitat degradation and habitat fragmentation and unwise developmental activities.

Goral

Naemorhedus goral

Goral  belongs to sub-family Caprinae. Goral is a primitive caprid and lives in solitary or in small groups.  Himalayan Goral is endemic to Asia occurring along Himalayan Mountains. The subspecies Naemorhedus goral bedfordi occurs in Jammu and Kashmir and  Kazinag NP and its buffer PAs such as Limber WLS, Lachipora WLS, Nagnari Conservation Reserve harbour a decent population of goral. Goral is easily seen in Kazinag and occurs along the temperate grasslands and open conifer habitats.  Goral is also one of the major prey species for common leopard. Goral decends to lower areas close to human habitations during winter, where it used to be killed for meat. After the WLP Dept. took over these areas, their hunting has been controlled to a large extent.

Brown Bear

The Brown Bear is one of the largest living terrestrial carnivores. Male brown bears weigh 130 –400 kg and females weigh about 230 kg. It is generally dark brown in colour with a distinctive hump on shoulders. Brown bear feeds on plant and animal material. In Jammu and Kashmir, the brown bear occurs in the subalpine and alpine regions of all the mountain Ranges (3,000-5,000m) viz, Kazinag, Pir Panjal and Greater Himalayas. Brown bear is regarded as an indicator species of good habitat quality. Retaliatory killings by herders for livestock depredation, habitat degradation, habitat fragmentation and heavy livestock grazing and unwise development are the major threats to brown bear in Jammu and Kashmir.

Herpetofauna

Herpetofauna in this area has not been fully documented till date, although presence of Kashmir Rock Agama (Laudakia tuberculata) and Himalayan Pit Viper (Gloydius himalayanus) has been reported from Kazinag. About 68 species of reptiles and 14 species of amphibians have been recorded from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Checklist Of Animals Present In Kazinag National Park

S.NO. Common Name Scientific Name WPAStatus IUCN Status
1 Markhor Capra falconeri Schedule I NT
2 Brown Bear Ursus arctos isabellenus Schedule I LC
3 Common Leopard Panther pardus Schedule I NT
4 Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus Schedule II VU
5 Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus leucogaster Schedule I EN
6 Himalayan Goral Nemorhaedus goral Schedule III LC
7 Himalayan Grey Langur Semnopithecus entellus Schedule II
8 Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta Schedule II LC
9 Wild Pig Sus Scrofa Schedule III LC
10 Red Fox Vulpes vulpes Schedule II LC
11 Jungle Cat Felis chaus Schedule II LC
12 Leopard Cat Felis bengalensis Schedule II LC
13 Yellow Throated Marten/td> Martes flavigula LC
14 Brown Musk Shrew Crocidura murina Schedule IV LC
15 Small Indian Mangoose Herpestes auropunctatus Schedule IV LC
16 Himalayan Weasel Mustela sibrica Schedule IV LC
17 Indian Porcupine Hystrix indica Schedule IV LC
17 Small Kashmir Flying Squirrel Eoglaucomys fimbriatus Schedule II LC