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Wild Animals in India
Indian subcontinent has a rich and varied biodiversity
to boast of. Infact, the country is home to some of
the most rare as well as magnificent wild animals.
Most of the wild animals of India are being protected
from poaching as well as habitat loss through the
numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Indian culture preaches respect for each and every
form of life, including wildlife. Still, greedy
individuals as well as the ever-increasing population
are putting pressure on the peaceful existence of
Indian wild animals. In this section, we have provided
information on the following wild animals living in
Indian Asiatic Lion
Asiatic Lions once used to roam around the area,
stretching from northern Greece, across
Southwest Asia, to central India. However, today, the natural
habitat of the majestic animal has been reduced to the Gir forests of India only, making the Asiatic Lion
almost synonymous with the Indian Lion. Known
scientifically as Panthera Leo persica, the royal
animal is depicted on the National Emblem of India,
since it represents power, strength and sovereignty. Gir
National Park is the only remaining place in the
world, where one is likely to see the Asiatic Lion.
Bengal tiger is a subspecies of tiger, which is found
in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. One
of the most common tiger subspecies, it is also found
in a number of other Asian countries, like Bangladesh,
Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet, etc. Usually Royal
Bengal Tigers of India are reddish-brown to rust-brown
in color with black stripes all over. However, a
mutation may result in their color being white also.
Such a tiger is known as the White tiger. Bengal tiger
is the national animal of both the Indian subcontinent
as well as Bangladesh. One can visit Bengal Tiger to
any Tiger Reserve in India.
Indian Clouded Leopard
The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a
medium-sized cat found in Southeast Asia. It has a tan
or tawny coat, and is distinctively marked with large,
irregularly-shaped, dark-edged ellipses which are said
to be shaped like clouds. This unique appearance gave
the mammal both its common and scientific species name
(Nebulosus is the Latin for “cloudy”). The Clouded
Leopard was a confusion to scientists for a long time
because of the appearance and skeleton. It was what
seemed to be a cross in between a big cat and a small
cat. The scientific name of the genus, Neofelis,
originates from neo, which means “new”, and felis,
which means “small cat”, so it literally means new
kind of small cat.
Indian leopard is one of the 8-9 valid leopard
subspecies found throughout the world. Known by the
scientific name of Panthera pardus, it is the fourth
largest of the four 'big cats' of the Panthera genus.
At the same time, leopards are also the fifth largest
of all cat species. The name 'Leopard' has been
derived from a combination of two Greek and Latin
words leo and pard, 'leo' meaning lion and 'pard'
meaning panther. This name was given to the animal
since it was initially believed to be crossbreed of a
lion and a panther.
Indian Snow Leopard
Snow leopard is a native animal of mountain ranges of
central and southern Asia, including India. It is also
known as Ounce and has a scientific name of "Panthera
uncia". Snow leopards can live for a maximum of 18
years in then wild. In captivity, their lifespan
increases to 20 years.
Indian Black Bear
Indian black bear is also known by the names of
Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Tibetan black
bear, Himalayan black bear and Moon bear. They grow to
a length of approximately 4 to 6 feet, right from the
nose to the tail. The small eyes of the bear, along
with its rounded ears, a long snout, a large body, a
short tail, and shaggy hair, differentiate it from the
other types of bears. The small shoulder hump, a furry
rear instep, a concave facial contour, small and
curved claws and narrow ears further accentuate the
difference. Last but not the least, Asiatic black bear
also has a whitish V-shaped breast patch, not found in
the other bear species of India.
The male black bear weighs between 220 and 480 pounds,
while the females are110 to 275 pounds in weight. The
senses of the Himalayan black bears of India are
greatly developed and they boast of almost twice the
hearing sensitivity possessed by humans. Black bears
have colored vision and their eyesight is very sharp.
Even their olfactory senses (ability to smell) are
highly evolved. The mating season of the Himalayan
black bears is usually from late May to early July.
They give birth to two cubs at a time, which stay with
the mother for almost seventeen months.
Indian Black Buck
Indian black buck is also known by a number of other
names like Kala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna
Jinka. The scientific name of the black buck antelope
is Antilope cervicapra and it natural habitat is the
Indian subcontinent. Grass forms the staple diet of
the blackbucks. However, they do eat pods, flowers and
fruits as supplements. The average lifespan of the
Indian kala hiran is twelve years and at the maximum,
they live for sixteen years. Black bucks are hunted by
dogs and wolves.
The name 'Deer' is given to the ruminant mammals
belonging to the family Cervidae. They are one of the
most beautiful creatures on this earth and extend to
approximately 34 species. Male deer, in India as well
as the world, are known as stags, harts, bucks or
bulls, depending upon the species to which they
belong. While, the females are known as hinds, does or
cows. One can find deers widely distributed throughout
the world, including the Indian subcontinent. The only
continents where deer are not found are those of
Antarctica and Australia.
The 34 species of deer can be divided broadly into two
categories, known as the old world group and the new
world group. The former comprises of the subfamilies
Muntiacinae and Cervinae, while the latter includes
the subfamilies Hydropotinae and Odocoileinae. Read on
to get more information about the Indian deer.
Indian Gazelle, also known as Chinkara, is a species
of gazelle found in South Asia. It belongs to the
Bovidae family and is scientifically known as Gazella
bennettii. The life expectancy of a Chinkara is
between 12 to 15 years, less than that of many other
deer species. Male gazelles are believed to be
territorial in nature and are not prone to wandering
for large distances. Gazelles come across as very
nervous animals and always seem to be on alert. It is
believed that the dwindling population of Chinkaras is
leading to a decline in the population of Cheetah,
their main predators, in India.
Nilgai, also known as Blue Bull, is one of the most
commonly found wild animals of northern India as well
as eastern Pakistan. Even though it is an antelope, it
looks quite similar in appearance to an ox. Therefore,
it has been given the name of Blue bull of India. The
average lifespan of the Neelgai is 21 years.
Axis Deer, also known as Chital Deer or Spotted Deer,
is the native animal of the Indian subcontinent. It is
found very commonly in India and is one of the most
beautiful animals in the country. The spotted deer of
India was introduced in the state of Texas in the
1930s. Since that time, axis deer of India has become
the most widespread of the entire deer species.
Brow-antlered deer are known by the scientific name of
Cervus eldii. They have a number of other names also,
like Eld's Deer, Sangai Deer, Thamin Deer and even
Dancing Deer. The maximum lifespan of the Thamin deer
of India is only ten years and the deer has three
Hog Deer is a subspecies of deer, found in the areas
stretching from Pakistan, through northern India, to
mainland Southeast Asia. A population of the hog deer
was introduced in a number of countries, including
Australia, the United States and Sri Lanka.
Muntjac Deer fall in the category of those deer that
are shy and elusive. They are also known by the name
of Kakad deer or the Barking deer in India. The reason
for this name is their alarm call, which seems very
much similar to the barking of a dog. Indian Muntjac
deer counts amongst the ten subspecies of the Barking
deer in the world.
Musk deer comprise of one of the most endangered deer
species, not only in the Indian subcontinent, but also
in the whole world. They are classified as a subfamily
of the Cervidae and have four sub-species.
Sambar Deer are dark brown in color and attain a
height of 102 cm to 160 cm (40 to 63 inches). The
weight of the sambar deer of India may touch 300 kg.
There are chestnut marks on the rump as well as the
underparts. Sambhur deer of India also have beautiful
manes. However, they are not spotted by birth. The
spots develop gradually after birth.
Swamp Deer, also known as Barasingha, is one of the
most vulnerable species of deer of the Indian
subcontinent as well as the world. Presently, one can
find them only in the protected sanctuaries of India.
Known by the scientific name of Cervus duvauceli, the
swamp deep of India derives its name, Barasingha, from
its large antlers.
The camels found in India are the single-humped
camels, also known as the Dromedary camels.
Long-curved neck, deep-narrow chest and a single hump
characterize the Indian camel. The hump is used by the
camels as reservoir of fatty tissues. In times of
scarcity, the tissues are metabolized and the camel
receives energy. The size of the hump is not the same
in all the camels. It differs from one camel to
another, depending upon its nutritional state. In
times of starvation, the hump can get reduced to
almost a non-existent size.
Indian dromedary camels have a heavy growth of hair on
throat, shoulder, and hump, which is longer than the
rest of the body. On an average, the camels in India
live for a period of 40 to 50 years. They are widely
used by the people of Rajasthan as a means of
transportation. Infact, the camels are known as the
'Ship of the Desert'. They are used for carrying goods
as well as people. Indian camels also provide humans
with milk, meat, wool, leather and fuel (from their
Indian elephant, known with the scientific name of 'Elephas
maximus indicus', is a subspecies of the Asian
Elephant. It is mainly found in the Indian
subcontinent, that to in the scrub forested areas. The
other counties where Asian elephants are found include
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Borneo, Cambodia, China, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Sumatra, and
Vietnam. Since Indian elephants are very huge and can
trample all other creatures, they have no natural
enemies. Even lions, hyenas, and tigers attack only
the very young elephants and not adults.
Golden Langur, or Gee's Golden Langur, is known by the
scientific name of Trachypithecus geei. An Old World
monkey, it was first noticed by the scientific
community in the 1950s only. In the Indian
subcontinent, Golden langurs are found mainly in the
foothills of the Himalayas, along the Assam-Bhutan
border. The langurs are considered to be sacred by the
Himalayan people. The coat of Indian golden langurs is
covered with rich golden to bright creamish hair. The
face is black and they have a very long tail, which
may measure upto 50 cm in length.
Hanuman Langur is believed to be one of the Old World
monkeys, belonging to the Semnopithecus Genus. They
comprise of 15 subspecies and are terrestrial in
nature. Earlier hanuman langurs were believed to
comprise of a single species. However, now they are
recognized as seven distinct species. Hanuman langur
is also known by the name of Gray Langur, Entellus
Langur and Common Indian Langur.
Lion Tailed Macaque
Lion-tailed Macaque is one of the subspecies of
macaque, found only in the Western Ghats of South
India. Known by the scientific name of Macaca silenus,
it has life expectancy of 20 years in the wild and
upto 30 years in captivity. Lion-tailed macaques spend
most of their time on trees and are excellent
Long Tailed Macaque
Long-tailed macaque is also known by some other names,
like the Crab-eating Macaque or the Cynomolgus Monkey.
It is an arboreal macaque, belonging to the Macaca
genus, and has the scientific name of Macaca
fascicularis. A native of the Southeast Asia, the
Crab-eating macaque of India has also been flown into
Stump Tailed Macaque
Indian Stump-tailed macaque, also known as Bear
macaque, is known by the scientific name of Macaca
arctoides. It can reach upto a length of 70 cm, at the
maximum, excluding the tail that may grow upto 8 cm in
length. Indian Stump-tailed macaques weigh 6 to 13 kg
and may live as long as 30 years.
A typical macaque, the Rhesus monkey of India is
believed to be one of the best species of the Old
World monkeys. It is an excellent swimmer and enjoys
water. Rhesus macaques are quite comfortable around
humans and have the tendency to move from rural to
urban areas in search of easy food. The average
lifespan of Rhesus macaques is approximately 15 years
in the wild.
Bonnet Macaque, an Old World monkey, is also known by
the scientific name of Macaca radiata. Found only in
India, it has been named so because of its physical
appearance. Indian Bonnet macaques have a cap-like
whorl of hair on their head, which radiates outward
from the center. Since the coil of hair resembles a
hat, they have been named as Bonnet macaques.
Assam Macaque is a diurnal primate, which inhabits the
regions stretching from Nepal to Vietnam and Southern
China. It is yellowish to dark brown in color and has
a hairless face. The color of the face is red in case
of adults. Assam Macaques are also known by the name
of Himalayan Macaque and Hill Monkeys in India.
Arunachal Macaque, scientifically known as Macaca
munzala, is a native primate of Arunachal Pradesh
state of northeastern India. It is called by the local
population as Munzala, meaning monkey of the deep
forest. Arunachal Macaques were discovered by the
Indian scientists in the year 2004 only.
Indian Red Panda
Red panda is a beautiful animal, found in only some
other countries of the world, including the Indian
subcontinent. Scientifically known as Ailurus fulgens,
it is slightly bigger than the domestic cat and founds
a mention in the list of endangered species. Indian
red panda bear is quite apt at climbing trees and is
mainly herbivorous. It is also known as the Red fox or
the Common panda and is native to the Himalayan ranges
of India. A one of its kind animals, Red panda is
believed to be a living fossil. The only other fossil
close to the panda is that of Parailurus, which lived
3 to 4 million years ago. The lifespan of a Red Panda
may range from nine years to fourteen years.
Indian Rhinoceros holds the distinction of being the
fourth largest animal, after the three elephant
species. Known by the scientific name of Rhinoceros
unicornis, the animal is found in only two places in
the world, Assam (India) and Nepal. The Great Indian
rhinoceros is a brilliant swimmer and has an acute
sense of smell and hearing. Its maximum speed reaches
55 km/h, that to for a short period of time.
The only drawback of the Indian rhino, also known as
the Great One-Horned Rhinoceros, is that its eyesight
is quite poor. The sheer size of the rhinos has
resulted in a few natural enemies. They may be
attacked by tigers, but there are hardly any recorded
incidents of a tiger killing a full-grown Indian
rhino. However, they may kill unguarded calves at
Indian Striped Hyena
Striped hyena belongs to the Hyaenidae family and is
scientifically known as Hyaena hyaena. Strongly
related to the Brown hyena, it is basically a solitary
creature. The average lifespan of striped hyenas
hovers somewhere around 10 to 12 years in the wild.
When kept in captivity, they can live longer also.
Indian Wild Ass
Indian wild ass, also known as khur, is one of the
subspecies of wild ass belonging to southern Asia. Its
scientific name is Equus hemionus khur. Wild ass of
India has an average age of 20-25 years.
Indian Wild Boar
Wild boar is considered to be the wild antecedent of
the domestic pig of the Indian subcontinent. It
belongs to the Suidae biological family, which also
includes the Warthog and Bushpig of Africa, the Pygmy
Hog of northern India and the Babirusa of Indonesia.
Indian wild boars are also quite closely related to
peccary or javelina of North, Central and South