Indian wildlife has always been on the radar of wildlife lovers who want to explore something new and exciting.
Teeming with rare and exotic animals, Indian wildlife gives wildlife enthusiasts the chance to get up and close to these incredible animals in their natural environment.
A number of endangered animals like the Asiatic Lion, Snow Leopard, Bengal Tiger, and the Indian Rhinoceros, some of which are only natives of India, are also found making a strong case why you should explore wildlife of India. Migratory birds add color to the landscape of Indian wildlife and are a major seasonal event. Jacobin Cuckoo, whose arrival indicates the impending monsoon, enjoys cult status in India. Other popular migratory birds include the Woodland Kingfisher, Rosy, Pelican, Wood Sandpiper, Starling and Bluethroat; these birds arrive from as far as Australia and Africa.
Here we have come up with five reasons why Indian wildlife would leave you asking for more:
The mighty and menacing Asiatic Lion
If you regard yourself as a wildlife lover, you have to have heard about the Asiatic Lion, one of the most awesome creatures you will ever come across. One of the five big cats to be found in India, it survives as a single isolated species in Gir Forest National Park –its number dwindled to as low as 180 in 1974, but has since recovered to 411 in 2010. Slightly smaller than their African counterparts, the males show moderate mane growth. Powerfully built, these cats live in prides that may include two to three males and up to a dozen females. Their menacing roars could be heard for miles, and when it comes to guard their territory, they can be quite mean. Battles between male lions to take over the pride is a sight to behold in Gir. The park is famous for the Asiatic Lion, but still there is more to Gir. The park has as many as 507 distinct species of plants that supports a multitude of fauna. Deciduous and teak trees are found in abundance. As for fauna, the popular carnivores of the park include Indian Leopards, Sloth bears, Indian Cobras, Jungle cats, Striped Hyenas, and Golden Jackals. Among the herbivores Chital,Bluebull, Sambar, Four-horned Antelope, Chinkara and Wild boar are key attractions. For the bird lovers, the park is the best place to indulge in some bird watching. Bird species that you would love to capture in your camera in the beautiful landscape of the park include Crested Serpent Eagle, endangered Bonelli's Eagle, Crested Hawk-eagle, Brown Fish Owl and Indian Eagle-Owl. Vultures are other species that you would like to get a close look at; as many as six species of this scavenger group are home to the park.
The fast and the furious Bengal tiger
The first national park in India, Jim Corbett National Park has affectionately protected and nurtured the Bengal tiger. The abundance of food sources in the form of deer, wild boar and buffaloes means that the tigers never go hungry. Equipped with powerful jaws and sharp teeth, it is a born hunter. The male is as big as 10 feet and can weigh up to 260 kgs – but even then sighting one in the jungles is not so easy. The camouflage stripes on its body conspires with the tall bushes, marshlands, and grasslands of the park to escape your eyes. And it is extremely agile and fast as well. Apart from being the best place to watch this majestic creature in action, the park is also a major ecotourism destination. Spread over an area of 521 sq km, the park is home to as many as 488 plant species and an equally diverse fauna. Deciduous forests cover the majority of the park, which seem to thrive in its moist and humid subtropical climate. Sal, haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees are the chief deciduous species found here. Among the wild beasts of the park, the Bengal tiger obviously is the crown jewel, but the tiger is not the only member of the cat family found in the park as Leopards, jungle cat and fishing cat give it company. Other popular mammals include barking deer, sambar deer, hog deer and chital, Sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow-throated martens, langur and Rhesus macaques. The Indian elephants and wild buffalo are easily spotted – at times showing off their immense strength and grace. If that isn’t enough, the park is home to over 586 species of local and migratory birds.
The One-horned rhino, tiger, water buffalo all in one place
The Kaziranga National Park is a World Heritage Site and primary abode of the one-horned rhinoceroses. Of the approximately 3,000 rhinos that are found in the wild, nearly 2,000 are residents of this park. So, you know where to head to spot this incredibly powerful and agile animal. The fifth largest land mammal, it can weigh up to 8,800 lbs. Kaziranga National Park is no one-trick pony though, as you will find a large number of tigers as well. In fact, it has the highest density of tigers among all protected areas in the world, precisely why the park was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2006. Other members of the cat family you would find here are Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, and Leopard Cats. Then there are elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. The wild water buffalo is also an endangered species. Assam being home to the majority of the surviving population, there is no better destination to see this incredible animal. Covered in alluvial grasslands and savannah woodlands, you will find a large number of deciduous forests in these tropical lands. The avifauna of the park is also varied and includes migratory birds, water birds, predatory birds, game birds and scavengers. Popular birds include Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Baer's Pochard duck and Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant and Black-necked Stork.
The interesting combo of black buck, reptiles and big cats
Kanha National Park is one of the biggest and finest national parks in Madhya Pradesh, India. Also a Tiger Reserve, it is spread over an area of 940 sq km. Some of the popular wildlife of the park includes Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, the sloth bear and Barasingha. The beautiful park is awash with sun-kissed meadows, bamboo forests and ravines. Some of the grasslands found here are vital for the survival of the Barasingha. Meanwhile, aquatic plants are the main source of food for many migratory birds as well as wetland bird species. Black buck, which at one time roamed with gay abundance inside the park before vanishing completely, is making a comeback of sorts. Park authorities have recently introduced the Black Buck in the park, and if you visit the park, don’t miss this wonderful creature. Regarded as one the best wildlife sanctuaries in India, the park is also a paradise for reptile lovers as from pythons to cobras to krait to vipers to keelbacks, you will get inundated by these deadly, but charming creatures. Then there is Munna, a dominant male tiger with the words “CAT” written on his head. Its fearsome reputation and aggressive behavior will surely keep you on the edge!
The magical chanting of migratory birds and earsplitting roar of tigers
Strategically located in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is famous for its tigers which are a mascot of the park. They continue to be the main attraction at the park, especially “Macchli”. She got the name, the translated version of which means “fish”, because she has a mark resembling a fish on her body. Besides being famous for its tigers which can be seen lurking around or sunbathing, the park is equally known as a bird reserve. On last count, more than 270 species of birds were found here, both migratory and resident. Names that deserve special mention include Eagles, Painted Storks, Flamingoes, Spoonbills, Sarus Cranes, Pelicans, Asian Palm Swift, Owl, Cuckoos, Graylag Goose, Woodpeckers and Indian Gray Hornbills. Filled with deciduous trees, grassy meadows, and rich water sources the park has just the right combination of resources to nurture a wide variety of wildlife –Sambar deer, Indian wild boar, spotted deer, peacock, and hulman are also seen making the most of these resources.