Changthang (Ladakh)

The SECURE Himalaya project is being implemented in the Chanthang landscape, in Ladakh, which includes the Rong valley and the Gya-Meru region. It is a cold desert with a short summer and Arctic like winter. While the region is famous for the Changthangi goat, the source of the popular pashmina, it’s also well recognised for its wetlands which are home to many indigenous and migrating birds. The landscape consists mainly of pasturelands, which are a repository of forage that support a large number of livestock and wild ungulates in a resource-limited environment.

The local communities residing in the region are Changpas, who are traditionally nomadic  pastoral  and  agro-pastoral  communities. Their  primary  occupation  is  the  rearing  of  pashmina  goats  (also known as ‘changra’),  sheep  (changluk)  and  yak    for  their  wool  and  animal  products.  They  grow  barley  and  vegetables  in a short  growing  season, as well as cater to  the  tourism  industry.

Sites of high conservation value in this region are :

Project Progress : Ladakh


Snow leopard rescue centre and genetic lab established for rescue, rehabilitation and conduct scientific research on snow leopards and associated species.

Successful designation of the identified High Conservation Value Area of Tso Kar Wetland Complex as the 42nd Ramsar site in India.

Support provided to Ladakh Biodiversity Council to implement the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. This includes the constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees, Developing PBRs, Identifying BHSs and preparing the Ladakh SBSAP.

Areas of High conservation value identified in Tso Kar, Chushul and Hanle Marshes and Tso Moriri in Changthang landscape.

Wetland Health Cards and Wetland Brief Documents prepared for 23 High-altitude Wetlands of Changthang landscape, thereby generating invaluable data on the health of high-altitude wetlands and enabling effective planning for their conservation.

Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas identified

Integrated Management Plan prepared for the Key Biodiversity Area of Hanle Marshes, which enables effective long-term conservation and resource mobilization for the site.

Participatory Biodiversity Survey conducted in Changthang landscape of Ladakh with 17 frontline staff officials of Department of Wildlife Protection, Union Territory of Ladakh, and 43 community members (more than 50% were women) to assess the presence of important wildlife and bird ringing in the landscape


Nature Based solutions and livelihood models identified in consultation with local communities


26 Predator proof corrals developed across villages in the project landscape to reduce incidences of human-wildlife conflict.
Major hotspots and trade routes for hunting identified including 10 Species (animals and plants) that are hunted/ poached and traded.
Training, capacity building and exposure visits made for frontline staff for rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals, dealing with cases of illegal trade in wildlife and development of community based eco -tourism initiatives.
Bio-digester plant established in ITBP Camp for management of solid waste and control of feral dog population
First of its kind Organic waste composter established in collaboration with Indian Army at Chushul.

4. Building knowledge

Innovative virtual-reality films, with first ever 360 -degree footage of snow leopards, developed in the landscape.
Nature education and outreach programmes conducted to identify traditional conservation based practices and increase participation and awareness amongst youth in Changthang.

Stories From the Region


A cold desert in the northernmost part of India, the Changthang plateau, in Ladakh, is an awe-inspiring landscape of rolling hills, wetlands, lakes and river-basins. The landscape is home to a variety of rare endemic and migratory birds as well as remarkable animals, including the majestic snow leopards…


Snapshots that bring you up close with the natural and
human life of the Trans and Greater Himalayas
The Department of Wildlife Protection is the nodal agency for implementation of the project in the union territory focusing on Changthang landscape.

Key Findings from the landscape

Hanle - Integrated Managment Plan

Hanle Wetland Complex located in the Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of four key wetlands (Jung Demo, Raar, Chukil and Shado Bug) which range between 47ha to 224ha in area at an elevation range of 4000masl to 4400masl. Download  »

Participatory Integrated Landscape Level Management Strategy and Plans in the Changthang Landscape

IORA Ecological Solutions Pvt. Ltd. would like to thank everyone who has supported the preparation of the report for the Participatory Integrated Landscape Level Management Strategy and Plans in Changthang Landscape. Download  »

SECURE Himalaya Baseline study on state of Financial Inclusion

Implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India and UNDP, SECURE Himalaya (Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems) is an initiative which combines livelihoods Download  »