The Himalayan mountains consist of 110 peaks stretching across seven nations, including Afghanistan, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, China and Pakistan. The region is 1,500 miles long and 250 miles wide and contains some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, which rises 29,035 feet above sea level. The foothills of the Himalayas are rich in wildlife, with the area containing 300 species of mammals and 977 bird varieties.
Bears, Cats and Foxes
The Himalayas are home to the Tibetan blue bear, one of the rarest and largest species in the world. These bears are 6 to 7 feet long and stand 3 feet tall at the withers. They are brown or black with a shade of blue. The Himalayans are also home to tigers, who can live in elevations up to 3,000 feet. Leopards enjoy many areas within the mountains including the foothills, elevated peaks, woodlands and rocky areas. The snow leopard lives high in the mountains but may descend to the foothills during the harsh, cold winters. You will also discover the lynx, brown bear, jungle cat, red fox, Indian fox and Indian wild dog in these foothills.
Sheep, Goats and Deer
Three types of goats can be found in the Himalayans, including the ibex, markhor and wild goat. The horns of the markhor can grow as long as 5 feet. The foothills are teaming with sheep and deer. The Marco Polo sheep is known for its large, curved horns, which can be as long as 4 1/2 feet. The Great Tibetan sheep is one of the largest wild breeds in the world, ranging from 4 to 4 1/2 feet in length. Musk deer, spotted deer and hog deer are also found in the foothills.
The Asian elephant is one of the largest mammals in Asia, weighing an average of 11,023 pounds. There are an estimated 25,600 to 32,750 of these elephants left. The great one-horned rhino is found in the southern foothills of the Himalayas. With an estimated 3,600 individuals in existence, it is classified as an endangered species, along with the wild water buffalo, red panda and the Bengal tiger.
Most birds in this region are striking and colorful in appearance. They include the red-breasted parakeet, tree pie, scarlet minivett, yellow breasted babbler, Indian robin, forest wingtail and red-breasted flycatcher. Several bird species, including the chestnut-breasted partridge and rufous-necked hornbill, have populations under 10,000 and are considered vulnerable species.
- Himalayas Wildlife Travel: Wildlife in Himalayas
- Pandoras Box: Species
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Himalayas
- Bears of the World: Tibetan Blue Bear
- WWF: Species
- Pandoras Box: Himalayan Birds
- Bird Life International: Species
- A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, Volume 6, Part 2; Sir George Watt
- Marco Polo Sheep
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images