Articles - Wildlife in India

Wildlife in India

Posted by: | Posted on: 01/11/13 | Comments: 0

The topographic disparity and differing altitude had given birth to different life forms in India. The Indian wildlife heritage constitutes of more than 80 national parks and around 440 wildlife sanctuaries that offers ample opportunities for animal sightseeing. India offers an amazing variety of wild animals native to the country which include tigers, leopards, lions, pythons, snow leopards, crocodiles, wild dogs, snakes, antelopes and the Asian elephant. 



Indian wildlife was severely affected during the princely India as animal hunting used to be a  fun game in those days. Most wildlife protected areas in India were the private hunting grounds of the erstwhile maharajas of India at one point of time. It caused several bad aftermaths on the ecosystem of the country. It was only after the independence of India that the gruesome results of fun hunting became visible. The population of certain wild animals reduced to such an extent that they were on the verge of being extinct. 


A part of the Indomalaya zone, India plays host to around 7.6% of mammalians, 12.6% of avian species, 6.2% of reptilians and 6% of flora species. There are around 172 IUCN designated threatened species in India which include Asiatic Lion, the Bengal Tiger, Indian white-rumped vulture and Single horn Rhinoceros. 


In recent times, human atrocities such as poaching has posed a great threat to Indian wildlife. Therefore, the system of creating national parks and wildlife sanctuaries has subsequently increased. Indian national parks are IUCN category II protected areas and the first one was established in 1935 in Nainital called Jim Corbett National Park. As per the statistics of 1970, there were 5 national parks in India. Today the list has included 97 more names. All the national parks together encompass 39,919 square kilometers of the total area. 


In 1972, the government of India introduced Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for the protection of plant and animal species. The hunting of wild animals was proscribed illegal. The Act provides protection to the wild animals, birds and plants. Except Jammu and Kashmir, the law is applicable to the whole of India. The act has six schedules that offer varying degrees of protection.



Besides Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Project Tiger was launched in 1973 in India. The project aims at ensuring protection to the available population of Royal Bengal Tiger, the national animal of the country, in their natural turf. Its main purpose is to portray the tigers importance as a natural heritage for the people. The government has set up a tiger protection task force to combat poachers and funded the moving of more than 20,000 villagers to avoid human-tiger conflict. Currently there is a total of 41 Tiger Reserves in India. 


There is also a concept of Biosphere reserves in India wherein larger areas of natural habitat are protected and often include more than 1 or 2 national parks. A total of 18 Biosphere reserves is there in India. Most of the wildlife sanctuaries in India are visited due to their tiger population. However there are some national parks which acts as a protected area for Asiatic Lions, One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian Elephant, Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Asiatic Wild Ass and Black Buck Antelope. Some national parks have received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. 



Wildlife in India has been a subject of numerous fabled tales and stories such as the Panchtantra and Jataka. The Hindi name for wilderness is Jungle and the word has been made famous by Rudyard Kipling in his novel The Jungle Book. It is believed that Kanha National Park has served as the backdrop of the forest mentioned in this novel. 


Mike Budhani

I am Mike Budhani, I belong from the hills Kumaon, Uttrakhand, at present I am living in New Delhi which is the capital city of... more»