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Is There Any Wildlife On Mount Everest?

Climbing Mount Everest needs a lot of preparation and plans. From food and logistics to the gear and items and from the physical rehearsal to the mentality of the climber, Mount Everest summons all the required preparation. But should we prepare for the wildlife while planning for the Everest Expedition? Is there any wildlife on Mount Everest that you can experience during the journey? Here is the answer to your question!!

Is There Any Wildlife On Mount Everest?

Is There Any Wildlife On Mount Everest
Wild yak (Bos mutus)

Everest region is rich in wildlife and plant species; however, there is no sign of life in the wildlife on Mount Everest. The Everest region, located in the Himalayas of Nepal, is home to a diverse range of wildlife, but due to the extreme climate and weather conditions, and high altitude, you cannot find traces of them on Mount Everest.

As we all know, Mount Everest’s elevation is 8,848 meters above sea level, where there is less oxygen level, and the air is thin. Similarly, the altitude is very high, which makes mammals difficult to breathe. Moreover, the freezing temperatures below -17 Degrees Celsius make Mount Everest inhabitable. The sparse food, limited oxygen at high altitudes, and the mountain’s inhospitable conditions make it challenging for wildlife to thrive on Mount Everest.

There have been many reports of spotting a few species, such as Snow Leopard, Himalayan Tahr, and others, in the lower altitudes of Mount Everest. However, it is common to know that most creatures do not make it to the climate condition of the world’s tallest peak.

What Makes Wildlife Hard To Adjust On Mount Everest?

What Makes Wildlife Hard To Adjust On Mount Everest?
Himalayan Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)

It is simple to know about the hardships of life on Mount Everest. Several factors challenge wildlife to adjust for their survival on this towering peak. Here are some of them:

Extreme Altitude

Extreme Altitude is no wonder to Mount Everest – everybody is acknowledged with its towering height. And the tallest peak, with over 8000 meters of height, makes life very challenging. Less oxygen, thin air, and dynamic weather conditions are some consequences of its extreme altitude. Humans and animals are prone to altitude sickness due to this.

The cold weather in the high altitude makes the wildlife difficult to breathe. And when it comes to the cold, no animals have the recorded report of surviving the extreme temperatures of Everest.

Harsh Weather Conditions

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens)
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens)

As we said above, the weather conditions on Mount Everest are dynamic, meaning the weather can change quickly without even knowing. First, the weather on Everest is very extreme, with constant snowfall during the winter and even summer. This leads the temperature to go down below -17 Degrees Celsius.

Besides, the sharp winds on Everest are the thing to be worried about. Even with the best preparation, human makes their adjustment narrowly, and when it comes to wildlife, there is no chance they can beat the wind, reaching up to 200 Miles per hour. These conditions can be deadly for animals not adapted to such extreme environments.

No Vegetation

If you see the base camp or even the lowlands of the Everest region, you might notice that it is not adversely aligned with the survival of wildlife. And regarding Mount Everest itself, no vegetation can be noticed.

No vegetation means no survival of wildlife – animals need to eat the green grass and other necessary items for survival, and it’s the same thing missing on Mount Everest. It means that there is no chance for animals to survive the extreme natural build of this peak.

Limited Water

Mount Everest is fully covered with snow, and its inner core comprises ‘Qomolangma Limestone.’ Geologists cite that it contains limestone with Ordovician marine invertebrate shells, such as trilobites, brachiopods, ostracods, and crinoids. So, the only thing you will find on Mount Everest is snow and rock, which means there is no water source rather than boiling the snow. It shows that Everest is inhabitable for animals as they are not well to do with human stuff like boiling the water or preparing to beat the shortage of resources in the mountain.

Human Activity

Human activity on Mount Everest, including tourism and mountaineering expeditions, can disrupt the natural habitat and wildlife of the region. This can cause stress and harm to animals, further challenging their ability to adapt to the harsh environment.

Wildlife In Everest Region

HimalayanTahr in Everest region
HimalayanTahr in Everest region

Everest Region is the World’s highest National Park, Sagarmatha National Park. It is one of the natural sanctuaries for wildlife and plants. Though there are no signs of wildlife on Mount Everest, hundreds of flora and fauna inhabit this beautiful national park. Some are the most endangered species in the world, while some are the most common survivors. Get insights into the wildlife that prevails in the Everest region below:

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard is one of the most endangered animal species in the world. As per WWF, only around 4000 snow leopards in the world inhabit the mountains of Nepal and other countries. Also, there is the IUCN Red List as a “vulnerable” species at the current time, and it is estimated to get reduced by another 10% by 2040.

Mostly, Snow Leopard lives at altitude ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 meters above sea level. They have small rounded ears that help minimize heat loss and heavy and thick fur to retain the heat. They have large, broad paws that make them flexible to walk, run, and transport their body in the sloppy landscapes of the Himalayas. Similarly, the long and thick tail helps them maintain the balance in these land topography. If you see the trail inside Everest Region, Snow Leopards are generally spotted around Gokyo Lakes. They are territorial animals, leaving their marks to indicate their territory, so if you are traveling inside Sagarmatha National Park, you should be careful with encountering them in person.

Wild Yak

The Wild Yak is another endangered species and Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. They are usually found in the high altitudes of the Everest region, and you can distinguish them with their body types as they are built with the same characteristics as domestic cattle but with more survival instincts.

Bulky frames, rounded cloven hooves, and sturdy legs are some of the distinctive physical features of the Wild Yak. Similarly, they have a thick wooly undercoat with shaggy hair that provides insulation against the cold. Generally, the wild yak lives 3,000 and 5,500 meters above sea level and around Namche to Tengboche. They feed on grasses, herbs, shrubs, mosses, and lichen, rich in Sagarmatha National Park. Since the wild yaks live in the wilderness, they tend to avoid human contact and can be very aggressive, so ensure you do not approach them in person.

Himalayan Tahrs

The Himalayan Tahrs are the majestic animals you can spot in the Everest Region. They are one of the most endangered animals in the world, with only a few thousand remaining as of today. They are also listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, as they are the elite targets of hunting and human encroachment.

The Himalayan Tahrs have small heads with large eyes, small pointed ears, and curved horns. Many of them are killed for the horn, the primary reason for their near-extinction. Besides, they have thick reddish wool coats that prevent them from harsh cold temperatures in the winter. They feed on grasses, leaves, and fruits and can be found around the Phortse and Pangboche regions of the Everest Region.

See also:


Himalayan Musk Deer
Himalayan Musk Deer

Everest Region is rich in wildlife, but Mount Everest is not home to living creatures. While you might need to be careful about wildlife during your initial hike to Everest Base Camp, from where you will start your Everest Expedition, you might not need to worry about them in the climb. Nevertheless, that does not make Everest region poor in natural flora and fauna – since it is located in the region of Sagarmatha National Park, you can still get views of several endangered wildlife species during your trek or expedition.

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