DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThe distribution of this species is centred on the Tibetan Plateau at elevations between 2,700 and 5,400 m asl. Most of the distribution is in China, but the species extends into northern parts of Pakistan, India, Nepal and possibly Bhutan. Within this broad range, Kiang distribution has become increasingly fragmented, and at present most of the large populations are found in protected areas with some along the international border with China, which is under the control of national armies.
In China all three subspecies of Kiang (Western, Southern and Eastern Kiang) occupy the Tibetan Plateau (Shah 2002). This species is found in much of Qinghai, in southern Gansu, in southern Xinjiang, in the northwestern corner of the Sichuan Province, and in most of Tibet (Xizang) covering an area of about 411,000 km2 (Schaller 1998).
In Pakistan the Western Kiang is found at the western-most edge of the species' distribution range. Kiang are largely restricted to a belt stretching along the Oprang and Muztagh Rivers, close to the Pakistan-China border (Rasool 1992, Wegge 1988, Shah 2002).
In India, two subspecies occur: Western Kiang in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir), Uttarakhand, and Southern Kiang in northern Sikkim (Shah 1994,1996), together covering an area of 15,000 km2 (Chundawat and Qureshi 1999,Shah and Qureshi 2002, Shah and Qureshi 2007a), with some emerging reports of their occurrence from the Tsarap Chu and Sarchu areas of Himachal Pradesh (Y.V. Bhatnagar pers. comm).
In Nepal, Western Kiang occupy the upper Mustang valley and are restricted to a 340 km2 area (Sharma et al. 2004) along the border with China.
There have been no reports of Kiang from Bhutan, but their presence is possible in the extreme north and northwest of the country (Jackson 1981, IUCN 1993, Shah 2002).