Western Ghats, mountain range which is older than the Himalayas, is present parallel to the western coast of Indian peninsula covering 160,000 square km area in a stretch of 1600km. Western Ghats travel through the states of Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. UNESCO identifies it as a World Heritage site and it is one of the hotspots of biological diversity in the world. The mountain influences the country’s monsoon. Western Ghats has a rich biodiversity. There are so many species of flora and fauna endemic to the place and make it rich.
Western Ghats has over 7,402 flowering plants species, 1,814 non-flowering plant species, 139 species of mammals, 179 amphibian species, 6,000 insect species and 290 freshwater fish species. There are at least 325 globally threatened species present.
SOME OF THE WONDER SPECIES OF WESTERN GHATS
- BENGAL TIGERS: Bengal tigers are known for their beauty and power. they are native to Indian subcontinent. These predators are present in western Ghats also. Western Ghats are home to 10% of the tiger population. they live in the tiger reserve. Ranthambor national park has 585 tigers.
- KING COBRA: This is the worlds largest venomous snake. This lives in rainforests and scrubs and grasslands of western Ghats. Adult king cobras are 3.18-4m long and weigh between 11 and 20lbs. Male snakes are little longer than females. They are snake eaters and also eat lizards rats etc. This is the only snake that builds nest for its eggs. Their behavior include aggressiveness and shy nature. It has enough venom to kill an elephant.
- INDIAN WILD DOG: It is one of the most dangerous wild animal of Western Ghats. They are classified as endangered and the main reason is habitat destruction. They are also called as Dhole. They can be seen in jungle roads, river beds etc. It has large round ears and hooded eyes. It is a highly social and co-operative animal.
- LION TAILED MACAQUE: This animal is endemic to Western Ghats and it is one of the endangered species. their population is below 4000. They are an old world monkey. This magnificent animal is the proof for the wonderful biodiversity of the western Ghats. These are omnivores but fruits are the major part of their diet. These get a part of their required moisture by licking the leaves.
- INDIAN GIANT SQUIRRAL: They are also called Malabar giant squirrel. Bhima Shankar wildlife sanctuary has a noticeable population. They mostly live on trees. They build their spherical nest with leaves and twigs. they have a long bushy tail. They are mostly seen solitary or sometimes in pair. They feed on nuts, fruits and bird eggs.
- PURPLE FROG: It is also an endangered species because of habitat loss. this species is formally described recently in 2003. They have a bloated body, short hind legs and sucker like mouthparts. Local people consume tadpoles of this frog. These frogs are found in damp soil which is well aerated and loose. Only 135 individuals are identified in which only 3 are females.
- MALBAR GREY HORNBILL: This is also endemic to Western Ghats. They have large beak. They are found in dense forest and are mostly fungivores. They are mostly 45cm in length and weigh 240-340g.