Vast salt marshes, the hint of a flamingo’s pink plumage, arid land that stretches into infinity interspersed by specks of green, blue and white – the Little Rann of Kutch or LRK is unlike any other ecosystem. The place is known for being home to India’s largest wildlife sanctuary where the near-threatened Indian Wild Ass or Khur thrives. Located in the western part of Gujarat, LRK expands over Along with the Greater Rann of Kutch, the Kutch Biosphere covers 12, forming one of the largest marshlands in the world. The saline nature of LRK’s soil makes it a unique landscape that supports over 300 floral and faunal species.

LRK is also the preferred destination for bird photographers. The region provides an ideal habitat for several resident and migratory birds. The Wild Ass Sanctuary which also houses important wetlands like Bajana, Nava Talav and the Surajbari mudflats is frequented by more than 170 species of birds. Apart from these wetlands, several low-lying areas within LRK are inundated during the monsoon season, welcoming more avian visitors.

The biodiversity of LRK is wide-ranging – from birds like flamingos, coursers, pelicans, godwits; animals like the Desert Cat, Khur and Chinkara, wild canids like the Desert Fox and Striped Hyena, along with an array of reptile and amphibian species – your cameras certainly have no time to rest!

Settle down as we take you on a virtual tour through LRK. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the #LRKInFocus chapter of #TheWildNation. We will be travelling to many more interesting locations along with our photographers. Make sure to keep your eyes open for our monthly prompts.

To help you plan a trip to this not-so-little salt marsh, here's a handy travel guide.

Sushant Jadhav

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Also known as Khur, the Indian Wild Ass was once present throughout the western region of India along with southern Pakistan. Their range is now restricted to the Little Rann of Kutch. The Onager is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. Conversion of its habitat to urban and agricultural land is one of the biggest threats for the species.

Ganesh R Mandavkar

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Only true member of the hyena species in India, the Striped Hyena is found in arid regions, shrublands and woodlands. They are frequently grouped with canids even though they belong to a family of their own – Hyaenidae.

Gnanaskandan Kesavabharathi

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LRK is known for several iconic species, but the region also houses the largest Asian antelope, the Blue Bull or Nilgai. Nilgais are known to share habitats with Chinkaras, Blackbucks and Chitals. Pictured here is a Nilgai mother with her fawn.

Tapan Sheth

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Desert Foxes are a common sight in LRK. The yellowish-brown coat of a Desert Fox helps it to camouflage against the background of the marshland. Born in sand dens, the pups are fed by their mother for about a month. At two weeks, these pups venture out of the dens and explore the world outside.

Ankit Sharma

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In recent years the Wild Ass population has increased, thereby extending its range outside the sanctuary area. Pictured here is an Indian Wild Boar family, a subspecies of the Wild Boar, feeding on a dead Wild Ass. Being omnivores, wild boars feed on plant roots, tubers and carrion.

Vatsal Parikh

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A subspecies of the Grey Wolf, Indian Wolves are found throughout the subcontinent. They live in smaller packs compared to their grey counterparts, and pack sizes typically do not increase beyond eight individuals.

Ravi Patel | Vedant Thite

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Short-eared Owls (left) are more commonly seen during the day compared to other owls. They are active around dawn and dusk when they hunt for small mammals in open lands. Unlike the adults, juvenile flamingos (right) are grey in colour. It takes them about two years to achieve the same colour as the adult flamingos.

Shubham Akolkar

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Asian Houbara or the MacQueen’s Bustard is a large terrestrial bird found in grasslands and deserts in parts of Asia. They are designated as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Aravind Venkatraman

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Montagu's Harrier is a raptor which displays sexual dimorphism. While males are grey in colour as seen in the image, females display brown-coloured plumage. These migratory birds of prey often fly close to the ground when they forage for food.

Ninad Vaidya

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Known for its deep dives followed by quick aerial captures, the Peregrine Falcon is an avian that is often photographed in LRK. A salt-loaded lorry in the backdrop shows another constant sight from this region where salt panning is a vital activity supporting several local communities.

Aviral Jadhav

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Lesser Flamingos are threatened by developmental activities around their habitats, which include wetlands and coastal regions. Pollution of water bodies by industrial and agricultural effluents are some of the main causes for concern.

Yash Darji

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Photographers from across the country throng to the LRK region to observe and photograph raptors. Apart from the Griffon and Cinereous Vultures seen in the image, one also gets to see Eastern Imperial and Steppe Eagles, Peregrine Falcon and the Marsh Harrier. Rare sightings like the Saker Falcon have also been reported.

Bibhas Deb

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An Eastern Imperial Eagle tries to make a meal of a Desert Fox. The fox managed to escape the eagle’s talons this time.

Pavan ML

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The endangered Steppe Eagle breeds in pairs and builds nests on elevated regions using whatever material that is available.