India has a high level of biodiversity, with roughly 8% of all species on the earth found there. It is home to 7.6% of all mammals, 12.6 percent of all avian, 6.2 percent of all reptilian, 4.4 percent of all amphibian, 11.7 percent of all fish, and 6.0 percent of all flowering plant species, making it one of seventeen megadiverse countries.
The country is home to 4 of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots: the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the North-East, and the Nicobar Islands. India plays host to a plethora of rare & exotic animals like The Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri marten, Bengal tiger, Kashmir Hangul and, pygmy hogs, to name a few.
Kashmir Hangul (Kashmir Stag)
Hangul, Jammu & Kashmir’s state animal, previously widely distributed throughout Kashmir’s mountains, is now limited to the Dachigam National Park in Kashmir. The Hangul’s population has steadily dropped throughout the decades, from a peak of 5,000 in the early 1900s. Experts have highlighted habitat fragmentation, a lack of favorable breeding, predation, and a relatively low fawn-female ratio as the most significant obstacles to Hangul conservation and population expansion. The Kashmir Hangul’s fawns are preyed upon in huge numbers by the Common Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, and nomads’ dogs, threatening their survival. The Kashmiri Red Stag, famed for its 11- to 16-point antlers, has been designated as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
They are indigenous to India and can only be seen in a few scattered sites near Manas National Park in north-western Assam. Pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is the world’s tiniest pig, standing at 20-30cm in height – with its sporadic hair and streamlined body that is nearly the size of a cat, it is also exceptionally rare.
Unfortunately, with only 200 left, they have been classified as an Endangered species in the IUCN red list. Habitat decay and degradation result from human settling, farming, seasonal burning, livestock pasture, and commercial forestry constitute the main challenges confronting the already jeopardized pygmy hogs.
The recherché Sangai as know as the brow-antlered deer or the dancing deer, is only found in the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s sole floating national park, and is indigenous to Manipur. Sangai eats a diverse range of aquatic plants, grasses, herbaceous plants, and shoots, including Zizania latifolia, Saccharum munja, S bengalensis, Erianthus procerus, E ravernnae, and others. According to the latest wildlife estimation undertaken by the Manipur Forest Department, the sangai deer’s population is static at 260. Marked endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Sangai population continues to dwindle as a consequence of low genetic diversity, disease proneness, hovering biomass habitat depletion, and hog deer competition.
The Peacock Parachute Spider, sometimes referred as the Gooty Tarantula, is a spider belonging to the genus Poecilotheria. The blue colour is caused by the arrangement of nanocrystals in their body hairs, which reflect blue wavelengths of light. P. metallica, endemic to India, lives in the wild in holes in towering trees, where it weaves asymmetric funnel webs. They prey on a myriad of flying insects. The “quality of habitat” of spiders that seek cavities and deep cracks in old woods is also dwindling. The spiders have been labelled as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
great Indian bustards
Rajasthan is home to about 122 of India’s estimated 150 critically endangered great Indian bustards (GIB), which are clustered in the Desert National Park on the western flank. Great Indian bustards are big birds with long legs and a long neck, with the tallest individuals reaching 1.2 metres (4 feet) in height. The males and females are about the same size, with the largest weighing 15 kg (33 pounds). The colour of a bird’s feathers distinguishes males from females.