Wild Life in India
The landmass of India is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. A wide range of birds and animals live in the diverse terrain of the country. From Royal Bengal Tigers to Asiatic Elephants, India is home to a huge variety of animals in its 89 National Parks, 18 Bio-Reserves, and more than 400 wildlife sanctuaries.
What is Wildlife?
Wildlife refers to animals that are undomesticated species but inculcate all the organisms that grow or live in the wild in an area without interactions with humans.
Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, plains, grasslands, woodlands, forests, and other areas all have some distinct form of wildlife. Most wildlife has value to human existence, which can be economic, educational, or emotional by nature.
Biosphere reserves are protected areas that are meant for the conservation of plants and animals. They also help to restore the traditional life of the tribals living in close vicinity. There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India established by the government that protects large areas of natural habitats.
These areas provide buffer zones that are open for some economic uses and not only for flora and fauna but humans who inhabit the areas too. There are 3 important zones of the biosphere which include the Core, Buffer, and Manipulation. Some important biosphere reserves are the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve, Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, and so forth.
Why are some Wildlife Species getting Endangered?
Endangered species refer to the type of organism that is being threatened by extinction. Internationally, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is one of the most well-recognized catalogs for threatened species.
Generally, the criteria for endangered species include a significant reduction in population size of a large percentage over recent years, with a continuing decline; along with a severe shrinkage in geographic range.
Some of the major reasons why some animal species are endangered are:
- Habitat Loss
- High Specialization
- Invasive species
- Human-Wildlife conflict
- Low birth rate
Government Initiative to Protect Flora and Fauna
India’s flora and fauna are diversified with a wide range of plants and animals. To conserve the wildlife government has taken certain initiatives:
To prevent the loss of flora and fauna, Government has set up 18 biosphere reserves. 10 of the 18 reserves Sundarbans, Nanda Devi, Gulf of Mannar, and Nilgiris have been included.
Many eco-development projects have been started by the government to protect the Flora and Fauna such as Project Tiger, Project Rhinos, etc.
Read More: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/conservation-of-flora-and-fauna/
Causes of Major Threat to Flora and Fauna
Wildlife is in danger from all sides, facing the loss of habitat and the impact of climate change. Some of the biggest threats to wildlife include:
- Illegal Wildlife Trade
- Habitat destruction
- Invasive species
- Climate change
Wildlife in India
Wildlife abounds in India. It is a biodiversity hotspot, with ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas in the north to evergreen rain forests in the south, sands in the west to marshy mangroves in the east.
India is located in the Indo-Malayan region and is home to approximately 7.6% of all mammal species, 14.7% of all amphibian species, 6% of all bird species, 6.2% of all reptilian species, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.
The forests of India are home to approximately 500 mammal species and over 2000 bird species. India, like its flora, is a good habitat for Fauna, the collective animal lives. A wide range of animal products is used to benefit our health. More than 90000 animal species can be found in India. This country has approximately 2000 bird species that are classified as Avifauna. They constitute 13% of the global population. There are approximately 2546 fish species present, accounting for nearly 12% of the global stock. It belongs to the Pisci Fauna family. India also has a small percentage of the world’s amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, ranging from 5% to 8%.
The Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas, and the Indo-Burma region are three of the 34 richest biodiversity spots in the world. According to a study conducted, India is one of the 17 countries that host about 60 to 70 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Classification of Species
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), it can be classified as follows:
- Normal Species: When the population is moderate in nature, they are called normal species of wildlife in India. Examples Sal, Rodents, etc.
- Vulnerable Species: Species that are not yet endangered but may become so because of unfavorable circumstances which may harm their breed. Examples: Nilgiri Langur, Nicobar Flying Fox, etc.
- Rare Species: These are species with a small population and may become endangered if unfavorable conditions continue. Examples: Desert Fox, Wild Asiatic Buffalo.
- Endangered Species: These are species that are at risk for extinction because of a sudden decrease in their population is called endangered species. Example: Blackbuck, crocodile, etc.
- Endemic Species: Species of plants and animals that exist in a particular region and are isolated by natural calamities are called endemic species. Examples: Nicobar Pigeon, Andaman Wild Pig, etc.
- Extinct Species: Extinct species are those which are either gone completely or are no longer to be found. Example: Pink Head Duck, Asiatic Cheetah, etc.
Wildlife Sanctuary in India
A wildlife sanctuary is an area where animal habitats and their surroundings are protected from any sort of disturbances like capturing, killing, and poaching of animals is strictly prohibited in these areas.
They aim for providing a comfortable living to the animals. India has some beautiful wildlife sanctuaries with dense forests, large rivers, and mountains. A few important wildlife sanctuaries in India include Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, and so forth. The Ranthambore National Park is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India.
List of Wildlife Sanctuary in India
In total there are 565 Wildlife sanctuaries in India. Some of the most important ones are listed below:
- Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
- Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
- Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
- Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rajasthan
- Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka
- Sariska National Park, Rajasthan
- Kaziranga National Park, Assam
- Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
- Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
Wildlife Distribution In India
Wildlife distribution in India is divided into the following types and each of them is discussed in detail below:
Wildlife in North India
North India is rich in wildlife and provides a stunning image of Indian wildlife. North India’s vegetation is primarily deciduous and coniferous, and it is home to a diverse range of species. The North Indian area is home to over 500 animal species, 2000 bird species, and 30,000 insect species, in addition to a diverse diversity of fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
Elephants, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, chital, fox, Tibetan Sand Fox, Rhesus Monkey, langurs, jungle cats, hyenas, jackals, and other creatures may be found in North India’s fauna. North India has a fair number of national parks and wildlife preserves. Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, Dachigam National Park in Jammu and Kashmir, Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh, and others are among the most popular sanctuaries in North India.
Wildlife in South India
In terms of flora and fauna, India’s southern region is one of the richest in the country. The Nilgiri biosphere is one of the country’s most significant conservation areas.
The Western and Eastern Ghats are both rich in wildlife and major conservation sites. Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, Parambikulam National Park in Kerala, Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, Wayanad National Park in Kerala, and the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Ghats are some of the most important national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in South India.
Some of the most important tiger reserves are located in this part of the country and include Periyar National Park and Nagarjunasagar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Wildlife in Central India
Central India has a vast reservoir of flora and wildlife due to its diverse topography. There are around 35 wildlife sanctuaries in Central India dedicated to the conservation of rare and endangered species. A trip to Central India will provide you with an overview of the richness of wildlife in India. Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhav National Park, Sanjay National Park, Indravati National Park, Narsinghgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuary, and others are notable wildlife sanctuaries in Central India.
Wildlife in East India
The eastern section of India has its fair share of wildlife as well. This region of the nation has rich and distinct fauna. In fact, some of the world’s most endangered species may be found in this region of the country. There are a number of wildlife sanctuaries in Assam, Bihar, and Bengal, some of which are important contributors to reviving diminishing species and protecting wildlife in India. Eastern India’s wildlife includes wild buffaloes, rhinoceroses, pigmy hogs, hispid hares, and other species.
The North-Eastern states have the highest bird biodiversity in the Orient, with up to 850 different bird species. Eastern India’s biggest wildlife reserves include the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the Manas National Park in Assam, the Orang National Park in Assam, and the Sundarban National Park in West Bengal. Manas National Park, one of these, has been designated a World Heritage Site and is home to 55 animals, 50 reptiles, 380 birds, and three amphibians.
Wildlife in Western India
The wildlife in western India is diverse and abundant. Western India is rich in flora and fauna, with several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks overflowing with Asiatic Lions, Blackbucks, Indian Wild Ass, Olive Ridley Turtles, Eels, Wolves, and Desert Cats. Western India also features marine wildlife sanctuaries dedicated to the conservation of endangered species such as Ridley turtles, prawns, sponges, green sea urchins, and dolphins. Gir National Park in Gujarat, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, and others are notable wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the western region of the country. More than 300 Asiatic Lions and 200 leopards may be found in Gujarat’s Gir National Park.
Extinctions occur because the species in view diminishes because of certain environmental forces like habitat fragmentation, and global change or because of certain evolutionary changes in their members like genetic inbreeding, poor reproduction, and so forth.
The 6 most important extinctions in India include Indian Asiatic Cheetah, Indian Javan Rhinoceros, Pink-headed Duck, Indian Aurochs, Himalayan Quail and Asian Straight tusked elephant.
Conservation of Wildlife
Excessive exploitation of plant and animal resources by human beings has disturbed the ecosystem thoroughly. About 1,300 plant species are endangered and about 20 species are extinct. Many species are endangered and some have even become extinct. There has been a depletion of wildlife and forests in India.
The main cause for this is hunting by greedy hunters for commercial purposes. Pollution caused due to chemical and industrial waste, acid deposits, the introduction of some alien species, and the use of reckless cutting of trees to bring land under cultivation and habitation are also responsible for the imbalances which are caused in the ecosystem.
To protect the flora and fauna, the following steps have been taken by the government conservation:
- Eighteen biosphere reserves have been set up in the country to protect the flora and fauna of the country. Ten of these are the Sundarbans, Nanda Devi, Gulf of Mannar, Nilgiri, Nokrek, Great Nicobar, Manas, and Simlipal. Pachmarhi and Achanakmar- Amarkantak, have also been included in the world network of biosphere reserves.
- Technical as well as financial assistance has been provided to many of these botanical gardens by the government since 1992.
- Project Rhino, Project Tiger, Project Great Indian Bustard, and many other such eco-developmental projects have been introduced.
- 101 National Parks, 553 Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Zoological gardens are set to take care of the natural heritage of the country.
Wildlife Protection Act was passed on the year 1972 by the Parliament of India for the rescue as well as protection of plants and animal species from being threatened. A further initiative was taken by the Government of India by introducing Project Tiger 1973, with the aim that the population of Bengal tigers is to be maintained in their natural habitats.
Indian Wildlife has a vivid variety of plants and animals living in a geographic area and working together to create a chain of life. Nearly 7-8 percent of all flora and fauna species are found in India. Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 by the Parliament of India for the rescue of protection of plants and animals. It has a diverse biodiversity Hotspot with various ecosystems and needs to be conserved.
FAQs on Wildlife in India
Question 1: How many wildlife sanctuaries are there in India?
There are existing 565 wildlife sanctuaries are there in India.
Question 2: When was the Wildlife Protection Act implemented in India?
The Wildlife Protection Act was implemented in India in 1972.
Question 3: Which is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India?
The Ranthambore National Park located in Rajasthan is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India.
Question 4: Which State has the maximum wildlife sanctuaries?
Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island has the maximum number of wildlife sanctuaries.
Question 5: When was the first wildlife day celebrated in India?
First wildlife day is celebrated in India in the year 1955.
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