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Discover Interesting Wildlife of India
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India has been fortunate in terms of geographical diversity. This has resulted in evolution of spectacular life forms. It is endowed with a wide range of habitats which support diverse species pertaining to mammals, insects, reptiles and the animal kingdom as whole.
The country is home to more than three hundred and fifty mammals and about 1200 hundred birds species. Some of the most enchanting animals live here. There are many conservation units created by the Central and State Governments to protect endangered species that were once found abundant.
Most popular mammals in India are tiger, lion, rhino, elephant, bear, wild dog, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, wolf, hyena; hangul, brow antlered deer or Sangai, swamp deer, sambar deer, gazelle or chinkara; four horned antelope, barking deer, mouse deer, hog deer, blue bull or nilgai; golden langur, lion tailed macaque, bonnet macaque; nilgiri langur, tahr, ibex, markhor....the list is far bigger.
India has marine biodiversity rich in aquatic life forms. The Chambal River Sanctuary & Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary are an example of aquatic biodiversity.
Hard Ground Barasingha
Wild Animals of India
Wild Animals Photo
Rare Indian Wildlife & Protected Areas
India is a country that falls under different zoo geographical zones and hence is rich in flora and fauna. The mammalian species here are very high in number, they may be more than those found in Africa. Tiger rules the jungle and heads the food chain being a tertiary carnivore. It is a top predator and hence is considered as an indicator species as well.
The most endangered animals are the tiger, leopard, Indian one horned rhino, snow leopard, swamp deer, hangul, brow antlered deer, the musk deer, gharial, river dolphin and wild ass. There are many animals in wild India which are on brink of extinction. It is crucial that wildlife management and conservation policies in the country are implemented properly to the save the endangered species.
There are more than three hundred fifty species of mammals in the country. The major predators or big cats are Asiatic Lion, tiger, leopard, snow and clouded leopard. The Indian cheetah has become extinct, but efforts are on to relocate them from Africa into sanctuaries in MP and Rajasthan States. Both deer and antelope species are found in India. There are many endemic species of reptiles, birds and mammals not found anywhere else. The country is home to fresh water and salt water crocodiles while the long snouted Gharial is endemic and found only in the sub continent.
There are many protected areas which conserve vital strands of fragile ecosystems. The endangered survive in these conservation units. The PAs are inviolate since no human habitation is allowed. Some of the prime destinations are mentioned below.
Kanha National Park is home to the Hard Ground Barasingha or the Swamp Deer, it was saved from brink of extinction by great conservation efforts. The number has risen from 67 to over 350 animals now.
India is home to Asiatic Lion, it is found nowhere in Asia except Gir National Park in Gujarat State.
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats is home to the Nilgiri Langur. Poaching and deforestation has resulted in the decline of their population.
The Lion Tailed Macaque is found in the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala. These primates now survive in small pockets of Southern India.
Golden Langur are primates inhabiting specific areas.of Western Assam and Bhutan. This race is found only in this limited area and hence require active conservation measures.
Indian Rhino is found in Assam at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. Once widespread it is limited to few pockets in that State. Conservation efforts have increased the population and they are being rehabilitated in their former ranges.
National Chambal River Sanctuary is one of the protected areas in India. It is home to the rare and endangered Gharial reptile and the Gangetic Dolphin. The river habitat spans across many States of India.
Snow Leopard survives in the cold climes of the Himalayan Region. The animal faces severe persecution for its pelt.
Indian Elephant though not critically endangered is found in many places in North, Western and Southern India. The animal is facing many hurdles to survival due to poaching and habitat destruction.
Indian Wildlife Video
Elephant Safari Photo
WIld Animal Photo
Most of the wildlife of India now survives in protected areas designated as National Parks and Sanctuaries with relative degree of protection. National Parks are more privileged hence greater degree of protection is accorded to them. Those under the aegis of Project Tiger, a conservation program, are called tiger reserves. The main focus of attention in reserves is on the animal and its ecosystem.
The endangered animals of the country are the Asiatic lion, leopard, snow leopard, swamp deer, hangul, mouse deer, wild ass, wolf and many more. The dwindling forest cover and habitat destruction has severely threatened the fauna. In spite of conservation efforts, wildlife is somehow surviving critically. Population pressure, exploitation of natural resources, poaching, wood logging and more space for humans are some of the reasons.
Tiger numbers have come down from more than hundred thousand to less than two thousand in the recent times. The animal now survives only in protected areas where poaching at times takes a heavy toll. All tigers in Sariska and Panna were wiped out by poachers and the big cats had to be relocated from other parks in India.
Popular tiger reserves in India are
- Kanha tiger reserve MP
- Pench tiger reserve MP
- Bandhavgarh tiger reserve MP
- Corbett tiger reserve
- Satpura tiger reserve
- Ranthambhore tiger reserve
- Periyar tiger reserve
- Melghat tiger reserve
- Sariska tiger reserve
- Panna tiger reserve.
Leaving the last two, the reserves mentioned here have the highest density of big cats. They are the best places to see them in their natural home.
There are more than forty reserves in India. These are the only places where the severely endangered animals hopes to survive. Besides the reserves, the National Parks conserve many endangered species like Rhino and Wild Elephant and some endemic species which survive in small niches.
Reserves have been created in the country to save the critically endangered tiger keeping other endangered species in focus. Since these are intact ecosystems with active conservation efforts and protection, all life forms flourish.
Wild Dogs on KIl
Wildlife Tourism India
Wildlife in India is spread out across the states, as the keystone species habitat may be far flung. One has to travel a great distance to see interesting animals of the country. For many tourists the distance may be discouraging hence organised package tours are the ideal way to travel.
The infrastructure is inapt at many places due to them being far flung in uninhabited regions. Nevertheless a trek or a safari yields wonderful results. Most of the wildlife tourism destinations in India are out of bound for trekking or independent exploration hence organised tourism is the only way to experience wildlife.
Necessary permits are required at many protected areas. One needs to obtain them at the respective offices near the reserves. Many reserves offer option of booking permits online.
Our Feathered Friends
The country is home to rich assemblage of avian species. Migration takes place from Europe, Africa and many parts of Asia. Their checklist comprises of many families taking the number to 2000 plus species which includes the sub species. While the species number about 1300 that is thirteen percent of the total birds globally.
There are many places of interest for bird watching in India. These are spread all across the country. There are many tour operators who organise expedition to these destinations.
Some of the most coveted avian species are:
- Great Hornbill
- Black Necked Crane
- India Pitta
- Great Bustard
- Houbara Bustard
- Greater Flamingo
- Lesser Flamingo
- White Winged Wood Duck
- Asian Paradise Flycatcher
- Jerdon' Courser
- Indian Courser
- Forest Spotted Owlet
- Snow partridge,
- Himalayan Snowcock,
- Chukar Partridge
- Himalayan Quail
- Blue-breasted Quail
- White eared Pheasant
- Blood Pheasant
- Koklass Pheasant
- Himalayan Monal
- Sclater's Monal
- Cheer Pheasant
- Mrs. Hume's Pheasant
- Greylag Goose
- Bar Headed Goose
- Northern pintail
- Common goldeneye
- Horned Grebe
- Black-necked Grebe
- Slender-billed Vulture
- Himalayan Vulture
- Griffon vulture,
- Shore Birds
- Wetland Species
The list is endless discover more birds in this: Checklist of Birds of India
Some of the popular destinations are: Bharatpur, Little & Greater Rann of Kutch, Munnar, Nainital, Corbett, Pulicat Lake, Nilgiri Hills, to name a few. Almost all the tiger reserves and National Parks in the country are excellent for bird watching.
Indian Animal Choice
Which Big Cat You Like The most
Indian Wildlife Blogs
- Indian wildlife and Tiger Conservation blog
Wildlife Conservation in India
India has few Marine National Parks of these Gulf of Kutch, Marine Sanctuary Jamnnagar and Gulf of Mannar are well known. Mahatma Gandhi and Rani Jhansi Marine N.P, Button Islands National Parks and Wandur National Park are situated in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The coast of Sunderbans and Bhitarkanika in the East are also habitat of marine life. They are the home of salt water crocodiles. Most of the beaches in the country are habitats of sea creatures.
Tigers in Water
Wildlife Protection Act 1972
In order to stem the rot Wildlife Protection Act was formulated in the year 1972. This act prohibits hunting of all wild animals and birds in India.
Indian Tree Shrew
Threats to Indian Wildlife
The threat arises not only from poaching but large scale industrialization as well. Illegal mining in many parts of India is causing destruction of natural habitats like forests, rivers, grasslands and deserts.
Wildlife Photos By Shivam Jar
Map of India
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© 2008 Uday Patel