Have you ever wondered how varied can be the biological diversity in the mountains ? For the ones who are interested to taste such flavors of montane biodiversity, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit for them, at least once.
Protected by the State Forest Department, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve in the state of Sikkim, India. It is 30 km west from the capital, i.e. 1 hr drive from Gangtok and is located in the eastern district of the state of Sikkim.
The sanctuary has an area of 51 sq.km with a varied habitat of montane, broadleaf, sub-alpine forests, etc.
The sanctuary has a continuation with Khangchendzonga National Park in the north-east, connecting with Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary further east.
Altitudinal range of the sanctuary lies between 1524 meters to 2749 meters.
The temperature ranges between -2°C – 14°C inside the sanctuary.
There are small hamlets in and out of the sanctuary; namely Dikchu, Pangthang, Mangan etc. Inside the sanctuary there are two forest log houses; the first one is located at Golitar and the later is located at Chulli, between these two points there is no human habitation but a dense forest trail around 5-6 km till Tinjure, the highest point of the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary.
Other than Tinjure there are many more stone cobbled forest trails inside the sanctuary. From north many riverine tributaries flow through the sanctuary, creating an enriched biodiversity , discharging in Teesta and Dikcuu river.
This sanctuary falls at the junction of Palearctic ecozone and Indomalaya ecozone, supporting a large diversified biodiversity, having a wide-range of both flora and fauna.
From 20th to 24th of Jan, 2018, I visited this sanctuary to have a taste of its biodiversity, the tour was arranged by , an ecotourism company and was mentored by eminent birder . We were guided by and also accompanied by sir.
With in this short span of time we saw and photographed 88 species of birds (As per Birds of Indian Subcontinent field guide by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp), 4 species of mammals (as per the Indian Mammals | A Field Guide by Vivek Menon).
Some of the species of birds found in the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary are; Nepal House Martin, Bay Woodpecker, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Plain Backed Thrush, Himalayan Bluetail, Spotted Forktail, Mountain Bulbul, Buff-barred Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Chestnut-crowed Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Red-billed Leiothrix, Nepal Fulvetta, Blue-winged Siva, Red-tailed Minla, Bar-throated Siva, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Black-throated Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Red-headed Bullfinch, Crimson-browed Finch, Eurasian Woodcock, Himalayan Wood Owl, Rufous-throated Partridge, etc.
Also some of mammals found there are barking deer, yellow-throated marten, Himalayan brown bear and Red panda, Golden jackal, etc.
There is also a water body inside the sanctuary near a watchtower, where wild animals come to drink water at night. There are also some view points from where the Kanchenjunga and its adjacent peaks are visible.
A whole new set up of cottage type foundation work has been set, to accommodate tourists. The trail of this sanctuary is stone-clad. From the parking area below, tourists have to walk around 150 meters through stone cobbled path to check inside cottages. Most of the trails inside the sanctuary are also stone cobbled so walking on these trails are easier.
One can book these cottages from the State Forest Department in Gangtok, also one can book any upcoming wildlife photography tour to this place with .
Goingwild is one of the best ecotourism companies operating in these regions. It is a Bengal based ecotourism company managed by three partners. One of them is Dibyendu Ash, with a huge bird list (which is ever increasing) till date he is currently one of the most eminent bird watchers in India. Many of his works have been published in both domestic and international publications, books and newspapers. The whole tour was mentored by him, his intricate knowledge about birds and their behavior made our tour more successful, providing me with some of best birding experiences of my life.
As in the beginning I said, if you are looking for some adventure in the mountains, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places to find some. Though animals and birds are a bit shy in this region but the diversity is very rich and pristine. The most special part of the sanctuary is its diversified habitat due to its ecozones . According to my conjecture the best time to visit this place is during Oct-Nov and Feb-April.
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