Geography and Landscape

Uttarakhand, a newly formed state in 2000, shares borders with Nepal to the east and Tibet to the north.

 

Uttarakhands topography shows huge differences in altitude, starting as flat Gangetic plains on the southern border, then progressing northwards through the long east-west ridge of Himalayan foothills known as the Shivaliks, then climbing up progressively larger mountain ranges before encountering some of the worlds highest mountain peaks in the high Himalayas, including the Nanda Devi peak which reaches over 25,000ft.

Because of this huge variance in altitude, Uttarakhand has developed a wide range of distinct bio-geographic habitats, or biomes. Eurasian High Montane, Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest, Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forests and Indo-Malayan Tropical biomes are all represented in Uttarakhand.

People and Culture
Uttarakhand is divided into two regions Kumaon in the east and Garhwal in the west. The area is largely a traditional Hindu society but with a distinct ‘pahari’ or ‘hill’ culture and language. As per the 2001 census, the total human population of Uttarakhand was 8.48 million of which 74.4% was classed as rural and 3.0% of the population as tribes. The state relies heavily on agriculture and tourism and the though the level of landlessness is low, subsistence farming is the occupation of about 50% of rural households. Often migration by men to cities for paid employment means that it is often women who manage the households and farms.

 

National Parks and Protected Areas

Uttarakhand has six National Parks, Corbett, Gangotri, Nanda Devi (A Biosphere reserve and UNESCO site), Rajaji, Govind and Valley of Flowers (UNESCO site), and six Wildlife Sanctuaries, Askot, Binsar, Govind, Kedarnath, Mussoorie and Sonanadi. Around 30% of the Uttarakhand’s forest is classed as protected.

 

Mahseer Conservation’s projects currently focus on the Terai and Bhabar areas in the Shivalik range, around Corbett Tiger Reserve. Corbett Tiger Reserve is an area of buffer forest (466km sq.) surrounding Corbett National Park and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (822km sq.).

Corbett National Park, Asia’s first national park, was the birthplace of Project Tiger, and is today home to the highest density of wild tigers found anywhere in the world.

 

The reserve boasts over 600 species of Birds including 48 birds of prey, over 50 different mammal species and over 25 reptiles. CTR is one of the last strongholds of many highly endangered and iconic species such as the Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Gharial Crocodile (Gavialis gangeticus), Indian Rock Python (Python molurus), Gyps Vultures and many more.