India's Animal World
We must learn to live together, you and us – we need to co-exist. Each of us has a part to play in Nature’s delicate web of balance – why do we upset things so? Life should be about what we need, not what we want. You can teach us that – every single one of you from the animal kingdom. Do we listen? Do we even want to listen? Our ears are deaf, our eyes blind, our hearts shut tight. The only way we know is the way of wanting – more and more. And so we plunder your habitat, tear the skins off your backs ….and slowly relegate you to history books. Will all we have left be just pictures of you?
The Indian Tiger
They say there are less then 3000 tigers left in the world. This regal, proud cat can grow to around ten feet in length and it is found in the tropical jungles of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. With Project Tiger being launched a few years ago, there has been some degree of success in stopping the carnage by poachers and hunters. William Blake would probably turn in his grave to know that there aren’t too many tigers left in the wild to burn brightly in the forest of the night.
The Indian Elephant
Greyer than its African cousin, with smaller ears and less hairy, the Indian elephant, which is a sub-species of the Asian elephant, has been captured and used as a beast of burden for years. Many Indian temples own tame elephants and they are dressed to the hilt whenever there is a festival. Today, there are barely 30,000 left and there are programmes in place to try and grow that number – a hard task when they need large areas to roam and progress means roads and railroads cutting into their territory.
The Indian Lion
Smaller than the African lion, today, these lions can only be found in a lion sanctuary in western India. From a hundred lions, the population has gone up to two hundred over a few decades thanks to very stringent measures taken to prevent hunters from going after these kingly creatures for their skin.
The Indian Sloth Bear
For too long, roadside entertainers were allowed to make money with their dancing bears. Not any more – there are laws that come down quite hard on those who practice this and this has resulted in the numbers slowly increasing.
The Indian Mongoose
In a land of cobras, you need the mongoose to balance the deadly snake population. Unfortunately, this animal is being driven from its natural habitat with the onslaught of civilization.
The Spotted Deer
This animal is a favourite as food for the big cats and they are also hunted by men for sport and food. However, the game sanctuaries today have a very large population. It’s the most common deer in India and its coat is a beautiful brown punctuated with white spots.
The Indian Blackbuck
They could be big cat food but men are their worst enemies. The blackbuck has long been hunted for its meat and its skin. Today, there are sanctuaries to make sure their numbers go up.
The Indian Rhino
It’s got one horn – and that’s probably the most distinctive way it is different from the African rhino. They have been poached for years for their horn which is prized in Oriental medicine. Their natural habitat has also been giving way to towns and cities and they have been confined to a very small area today, mainly in sanctuaries. This has seen an increase in their numbers, up from a few years ago when they were almost extinct.
The Indian Musk Deer
High up in the Himalayas, for years, poachers caught and butchered the musk deer for its musk – which is highly valued globally for its use in perfumes. Today, there are probably a few hundred left. These are very shy animals and they hate the heat. So they come out very early in the morning and then lie in the shade for the rest of the day.
The Indian Camel
The Indian camel has only one hump and it can be found in the deserts of Rajasthan. Almost all of the camel population has been tamed in order to carry people and provisions across the Thar desert. Camels usually walk in single file, in the wild as well as in captivity.
The Indian Mouse Deer
This slender, small animal is found in the tropical forests of South India. The body is a bit stocky and it is a very shy animal, almost impossible to see in the grass and greenery because it has a coat which is olive with white speckled spots. It runs off into the thickly wooded areas at the least sound.
The Indian Wild Boar
Hunted for sport and for its meat for years, the number of species of wild boar in India has come down from seven to one. Most of them are in the sanctuaries today but they are known to attack the crops of farmers who live in the peripheral villages.
The Indian Langur
There are three types of langurs found in India – the first is the typical one that you can see in most parts of the country. It has a grey body with a black face which is covered by a tuft. In the wild, they live among the mangroves or in wooded areas.
The Golden langur is found near the Himalayas and it has a black face too with a golden body. The hill tribes consider it a sacred animal.
The Hanuman langur is also called the Grey langur and it has fifteen sub-species. Named after the Hindu god called Hanuman, these monkeys in the wild tend to act as lookouts for the spotted deer, warning them when danger approaches.
Thank you Cris A for challenging me to write this hub!
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