The northeastern state Sikkim is not only known for its mesmerizing hilly beauty but also the richness of the varied wildlife. The wildlife of this state is manifold as compared to other wildlife sanctuaries in India due to the diverse altitude of the region. The different altitude of the landscape of Sikkim provides a variety of Flora and Fauna. From tropical area to alpine area, the hilly trail has the best landscape which is the foremost reason for flourishing wildlife. The various species of wild animals enriching the wildlife of Sikkim are the Himalayan bear, leopard, snow leopard, musk deer, red panda, wild ass, and so forth. Thus, the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Sikkim should be added to everyone’s itinerary whoever is coming to explore this beautiful state.
Below is the list of prime wildlife sanctuaries in Sikkim where you can spot varied wild animals:
Khangchendzonga National Park:
Khangchendzonga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Side and this park is spread in the area of 1784 sq km. Located in the Yuksom town of Sikkim, this high altitude national park is mainly known for its ultimate wildlife where varied animal species such as Snow Leopard, Tibetan Sheep, Red Panda, Musk Deer, Bharal can be easily spotted. In addition to this, the park also has a plethora of bird species like Grus nigricollis, Black-necked Crane, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Tibetan Snow Cock, Blood Pheasant, and Himalayan Snow Cock.
This park has about 18 glaciers which include the very renowned Zemu Glacier. Besides, this national park has almost 17 alpine lakes along with a beautiful view of 19 Himalayan mountain peaks which include the Mount Khangchendzonga peak.
A special pass is required:
For National Tourist: People are required to take permit from the Home Department, Government of Sikkim.
For Foreign Tourist: If it is a trek to the spectacular Zemu Glacier then permit is issued from the Ministry of Home, Delhi.
(Best Time To Visit: From March To May & September to Mid-December.)
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary:
Located in a small town of Sikkim (Lachen), the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary attracts wildlife lovers and nature lovers from across the globe. This sanctuary is spread in the area of 43 sq km and is surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan range and the enchanting beauty of nature. It is mainly known for its wild abundance of rhododendron trees and shrubs. During the season of spring, the sanctuary turns into a riot of colors and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Also, Rhododendron Niveum is only present in this sanctuary which is the state tree. There are more than 40 varied species of the rhododendrons trees in this sanctuary which is also home to some stunning bird species like barwing, wood snipe and hoary-throated. The other species trees and plants that promote the beauty of this sanctuary are primulas, poppies, aconites, potentillas, gentians, and saxifrages, etc. Additionally, this sanctuary is one of the popular destinations in Sikkim for trekking lovers.
(Best Time to Visit: From March to May & October to December.)
Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary:
Located in the western region of Sikkim near the city of Soreng, the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a perfect epitome of a natural beauty. The sanctuary spreads in the area of 104 sq Km in the butterfly shape of the landscape on the Singalila Mountain Ridge. This prime wildlife destination is filled with the lush greenery and offers the beautiful view of nature. It is rich in the host of species of Rhododendron trees along with other vegetations that consists of Pine, Oak, Magnolia, and Primula. Another reason that makes it one of the best wildlife sanctuaries of Sikkim is that it is enriched by the native wild animals like Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Red Panda, Himalayan Palm Civet, Leopard cat, Himalayan Langur, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, and so forth. The avifauna of this wildlife sanctuary attracts the bird enthusiasts with a spectacular species such as Kalij Pheasant, Monal Pheasant, Crimson Horned Pheasant, and few other bird species. Visitors can also have an eye-pleasing view of Mt. Khangchendzonga from this place.
Apart from this, it is a very popular trek in Sikkim. The sanctuary has three entry gates for trekking which are Dentam, Hilley, and Soreng.
(Best Time To Visit: Match to April.)
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary:
20 Km from the Gangtok city, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is sprawled across an area of 52. This wildlife sanctuary is enriched with a large variety of butterflies and birds along with red pandas, leopards, civet cats, and the Himalayan black bear. In addition to this, this place supports a variety of rhododendrons and wild orchids.
National, as well as foreign Tourists, have to take prior permission from the Forest Department.
(Best Time To Visit: Match to Late May and September to mid-December.)
Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary:
Situated at a distance of 31 Km from the east of Gangtok on the way to Nathu La Pass, the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is spread in the area of 31 sq km. This sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna both. One can witness a host of primroses, rhododendrons, poppies, and also several types of flowers in this sanctuary. Also, this destination is a home to Rhododendron Nevium, which is the state Tree of Sikkim & Cypripedium Tibeticum. The wildlife sanctuary supports gravely endangered musk deer, serow (long haired goat), Himalayan black bear, red panda, and some species of pheasants.
(Best Time To Visit: April to August and October to November.)
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary:
The prime destination of Namchi, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is the ultimate tourist place of South Sikkim especially for the wildlife enthusiasts and nature-loving visitors. Located at an elevation of 10,600 feet on the Maenam-Tendong Ridge, the sanctuary covers an area of 36.34 sq km. The word “Maenam-la” means “Treasure-house of Medicines” and the sanctuary is enriched by a variety of medicinal plants.
The fauna of this amazing wildlife sanctuary comprises endangered Himalayan Red Panda, Leopard cat, Civet Cat, Serow, Goral, Marbled cat, Barking Deer etc. This sanctuary is also a perfect place to witness exotic birds like Magpies, Blue-necked Pita, Common Hill Partridge, Sunbird, Blood Pheasant, Black Eagle, etc. Apart from wildlife sightseeing, this destination is an ideal place for trekking. It offers a spectacular destination for adrenaline junkies as the trail of this trek goes up towards the peak of the Maenam Hill which further leads to the Bhalay-Dhunga. Besides, it provides an enchanting view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and River Teetsa which makes the sanctuary worth visiting for.