was once the preserve of the very rugged or the very rich. Today, it is
mainstream, and kind of cool. More than 4% of India's land is under forest
cover- there are at least 89 national parks and 482 wildlife sanctuaries.
India is one of the 12 mega-diversity areas in the world in terms of
and plant wealth.
India has a very rich and varied fauna. There are about 75,000 species of
animals, of which 340 species are mammals, 1,200 birds, 420 reptiles, 140
amphibians, 2,000 fishes, 50,000 insects, 4,000 mollusks, and several other
species of invertebrates.
The mammals include the
elephant, associated in India from the
immemorial with mythology and the splendour of her regal pageantry, the
gaur or Indian
bison, Indian buffalo, nilgai or blue bull, chowsingha or four-horned antelope
(unique to India), black buck or Indian antelope, ghorkhur or Indian wild ass
and the great one horned rhinoceros. There are several species of deer, viz.
the rare Kashmir stag, swamp deer, spotted deer, musk deer,
thamin or brow-antlered deer and mouse deer.
Among the animals of prey, the Asiatic lion is the only lion to be found in
the world outside Africa. The majestic tiger, the national animal of India
known for its rich colour, illusive design and formidable power, has always
been held in high esteem in India. Among the carnivorous, the tiger looks
gorgeous and attractive
roaring voice, which it uses as a symbol of power. Out of eight races in
the world over, the Indian race gives us the
Royal Bengal tiger, which is found all over the country. Among other cats are
leopard, clouded leopard, the snow leopard and various
species of smaller cats.
can be seen in any wildlife sanctuary, famous for Tiger
watching in North and Central India are Corbett, Ranthambore, Sariska,
Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks.
|South India, Nagarhole and
Bandipur National Parks are the most visited tiger reserves. Out of which Bandipur,
lying in the shadow of the Western Ghats, is one of the finest habitats of the
Asian elephant. In Kaziranga, you can feel your pulse quicken when a
comes charging in- and then have a sigh of relief as it changes course.
Bird life in India is also very rich. Out of several water bird
sanctuaries in India, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is the best with its
29 sq km of shallow
jheels (lakes) and marshes, scrub jungle, mature greenwoods, and golden
grassland that plays host to over 400 species of birds- about as many in the
entire UK. This world heritage site is world famous for its heronries and, of
course for Great White (or Siberian) Cranes that visit it during the balmy
butter-gold winters, along with thousands of other migrants- waterfowl,
waders, passerines, raptors et al.
wildlife experience, India's wilderness is an Ark. So get on