If there is one thing that India can boast of is its diversity of fauna that can embarrass many neighbouring countries.
With fauna as diverse as its culture, these are the few rare species of animals that are endemic to India and are threatened by our ruthlessness.
Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard
Both these species of leopards are feline beauties found in mountainous areas. The Clouded Leopard is the smallest of the big cats and endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Both the leopards are classified under ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN list.
Where to find them– Hemis National Park, Nanda Devi National Park, Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Himalayan National Park, Khangchendzonga and Namdapha National Park
Ganges Dolphin and Indian River Shark
Threatened by the loss of habitat, the only freshwater dolphin found in India, the Ganges River Dolphin is critically endangered. The very rare Indian River Shark also finds itself ranked on the same list.
Where to find them– Chilika Lake, Kaziranga National Park
Kashmir Red Stag (Hangul)
Categorized under ‘critically endangered’, the Hangul is a rare species of elk. The Hangul has been hunted down over decades and diminished to a population of mere 150.
Where to find them– Dachigam National Park and surrounding areas
Indian Rhinoceros (One-horned Rhinoceros)
Ranked as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN list, the Great Indian rhino is poached for their horn. But due to dedicated effort towards it protection, its population has risen. The Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project has been sincerely working to raise their population to 3000 by 2020.
Where to find them– Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Orang National Park, Gorumara National Park
Lion Tailed Macaque and Phayre’s Leaf Monkey
Both these species of primate, Lion Tailed Macaque and the Phayre’s langur are found locally in isolated regions across the country. The black and silver-haired Lion Tailed Macaque poached for its skin is endemic to the Western Ghats. The population of the Phayre’s langur found in Tripura has dwindled by 50% due to the practice of Jhum.
Where to find them– Indira Gandhi National Park, Rajbari National Park, Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary
Nilgiri Ibex (Nilgiri Tahr)
Found only in the Nilgiri Hills, Nilgiri tahr is a wild goat whose population has been threatened due to overgrazing and habitat loss.
Where to find them– Bandipur, Nagarhole and Silent Valley National Parks, the Mudumalai, Mukurti and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuaries
A prehistoric anteater and the only scaly burrowing animal, the Indian pangolin is considered to be the most poached animal. The diminishing population of the Indian Pangolin is attributed to its popularity as a delicacy.
Where to find them– Gwalior and Achanakur Wildlife Sanctuaries, Chambal National Park and Achanakuar Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Himalayan foothills
Asiatic Water Buffalo
The Asiatic Water Buffalo is said to have the largest horn span among bovid. It is largely threatened by domestic trade and interbreeding.
Where to find them– Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Indravati National Park
Asiatic Wild Dog (Dhole) and Himalayan Wolf
Dholes, also known as the ‘whistling hunter’, are heavily hunted for their predatory instinct.
The Himalayan wolf, as the name suggests, is a native of the Himalayas. With a population of just 350, these light coloured wolves live in isolated areas and are very difficult to track down.
Where to find them– Spiti Valley, Corbett National Park, Kanha National Park
The cuddly little Red panda with white ringed tails and cinnamon red fur is ruthlessly hunted for their skin.
Where to find them– Parts of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, Khangchendzonga and Namdapha National Park
So, what are you waiting for? Plan an eco-tourism trip and help local communities conserve these rare gems.