(Last Updated on : 21/12/2013)
Indian wildlife is an appropriate mix of diverse species having varied origins. India is considered home to a large number of rare and endangered animal species. A recent study shows that India along with 17 other mega diverse countries is home to nearly 60 percent to 70 percent of the world's biodiversity. India is a vast country having a rich wildlife heritage and the Indian wildlife is considered as one of the richest ones all over the world. The Indian wildlife include numerous reptiles, animals, birds, mammals etc. and they are being preserved and protected in various national parks and wild life sanctuaries. The national parks and wild life sanctuaries in India are spread from Ladakh
in Himalayas to Southern tip of Tamil Nadu
and they are just outstanding in their scenic beauty. India has a rich bio-diversity and heritage and the wildlife sanctuaries of the country are attracting people from all over the world, as the rarest of rare species are found here.
The reptiles are an integral part of the Indian wildlife. They can be found in every part of the country and they are of numerous species and varieties. India is home to a large number of almost 500 species of reptiles and one can find crocodile inhabiting in the rivers, swamps and lakes of India
. The reptiles of India constitute 6.2 percent of the total population of reptiles in the world. Out of all these, almost 30 species have been listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (IUCN 2006). Some of the most notable reptiles in India include the Chameleon
, Gharial, Mugger Crocodile, Tortoise, Turtle
, Water Monitor, etc.
Apart from the reptiles, India is also the home to a vast variety of animals. The animals are a fundamental part of Indian wildlife and several animals in India are considered as rare all over the world. Some of them are also considered as endangered species. Some of the world famous animals in India include the Royal Bengal Tiger
, Indian Rhino, Indian Elephant
, Lion, Cobra, Peacock, White Tiger, Snow Leopard
, Black Buck
, Cheetah etc.
India has near about 100 national parks and more than 500 wildlife sanctuaries and that is why, the range and diversity of Indian wildlife heritage is matchless. Some of the most important and notable sanctuaries in India include the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttaranchal; the Kanha National Park and the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh
; the Ranthambhor National Park, Sawai Madhopur; the Gir National Park
, Sasangir, in Gujarat
, etc. The wildlife sanctuaries are preserving and supporting a great variety of mammals and thousands of species of birds. There are also a number of sanctuaries in India that are specifically dedicated in preserving the birds. The Bird Sanctuary at Bharatpur, Rajasthan
is one of the most notable ones amongst them, as it is the second habitat in the world that is visited by the Siberian Cranes in winter. The sanctuary also provides a vast breeding area for the native water birds.
However, in spite of establishing all these national parks and sanctuaries for the preservation of Indian wildlife, there are numerous endangered species in India
that are on the verge of extinction, at present. They can be classified as endangered, vulnerable and threatened and initiatives are being taken to preserve them. The critically endangered species in India include the Jenkin's Shrew, Malabar Large-spotted Civet, Namdapha Flying Squirrel, Pygmy Hog, Salim Ali's Fruit Bat, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Wroughton's Free-tailed Bat, etc. Some of the most important endangered species in India include the Asiatic Lion, Asiatic Black Bear, Desert Cat, Great Indian Rhinoceros, Hispid Hare, Hoolock Gibbon, Kashmir Stag Hangul, Lion-tailed Macaque, Malabar Civet, Markhor, Nayan Ovis, Nilgiri Leaf Monkey, Pygmy Hog, Andaman Shrew, Andaman Spiny Shrew, Indian Elephant or Asian Elephant, Banteng, Blue Whale, Capped Leaf Monkey, etc.
Among the vulnerable species in India, there is Asiatic Wild Dog, Banteng Bos, Brow-antlered Deer, Brown Bear, Brown Palm Civet, Clouded Leopard, Common Otter, Dugong
, Ganges River Dolphin, Gaur Bos, Goral Nemorhaedus, Grey Indian Wolf, Himalayan W-toothed Shrew, Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Shrew, Jackal Canis, Andaman Horseshoe Bat, Andaman Rat, Argali, Asiatic Black Bear, Back-striped Weasel, Barasingha, Bare-bellied Hedgehog, Blackbuck, Brown fish owl, Central Kashmir Vole, Clouded Leopard
, Day's Shrew, Dhole
, Eld's Deer, etc. The threatened species in India are the Indian Wild Ass, Leopard, and Red Fox. However, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of India is working in collaboration with other NGO partners and tribal people to preserve these endangered species. They are also taking initiatives to develop new models of wildlife conservation with a view to preserve India's most treasured fauna and also to protect the environment.
However, in the present times, human encroachment has posed a severe threat to the wildlife of India. Thus, several conservation measures have been taken by the government and numerous national parks and sanctuaries have been established. In the year 1972, the Wildlife Protection Act was enacted and Project Tiger was initiated by the Government of India
. Interestingly, the rich and diverse Indian wildlife has deep impact on the popular culture of the region.