Here is your paragraph on the wildlife of India!
Wildlife comprises animals, birds, and insects living in forests. With large regional variations in physiography, climate and edaphic types, Indian forests offer a wide range of habitat types which are responsible for a large variety of wild life in India.
India boasts of more than 80,000 species of animals which is about 6.5% of the word’s total species. Indian fauna includes about 6,500 invertebrates, 5,000 mollusc, 2,546 species of fishes, 2,000 species of birds, 458 species of reptiles, 4 species of panthers and over 60,000 species of insects.
Elephant is the largest Indian mammal which only a few centuries ago, was found in large numbers in vast forest tracts of India. There are about 6,000 elephants in the forests of Assam and West Bengal, about 2,000 in Central India and nearly 6,000 in three southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The one-homed rhinoceros, India’s second largest mammal was once found throughout the Indo-Gangetic Plain as far west as Rajasthan. The number of this mammal has drastically decreased and now there are less than 1,500 rhinoceroses in India, confined to the restricted locations in Assam and West Bengal.
They survive under strict protection in the Kaziranga and Manas sanctuaries of Assam and the Jaldapara sanctuary of West Bengal. The arna or wild buffalo is found in Assam and in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. The gaur or the Indian bison is one of the largest existing bovine and is found in the forests of Central India.
There are about 3,000 tigers in India mainly found in the forests of eastern Himalayan foothills and in parts of the peninsular India. The number of Cheetahs had fallen to less than two hundred until successful breeding programme in the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat resulted in some recovery.
The arboreal clouded leopard is found in northern Assam while the Black Panther is a widely distributed predator. Desert and jungle cats live in north western parts of the country. Lynx live upto 3,010 m in Ladakh. Brown, Black and Sloth Bear are found at high altitudes in the north-western and central Himalayas.
Yak, the ox of snow, is largely found in Ladakh and is tamed to be used as a draught animal. Several species of wild sheep and wild goats are also found in India. The shapu or urial, bhoral the blue sheep, and nayan,-a huge sheep with curved horns are the main types of wild sheep. Serow and goral are the goat antelopes of the Himalayas. The Kashmir markhar, the ibex and the Himalayan thar are some of the Himalayan wild goats.
Deer also used to roam widely across the Indian forests, although their number has been drastically reduced. Stag or barasingha is found in Assam, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The Munjac or barking deer are found extensively in the lower wooded slopes of the Himalayas and in the forests of southern India. The kastura or the musk deer, much sought after for its musk pod, live in the birch woods in the higher forests of the Himalayas. Thamin is a pretty deer found in Manipur containing Kasturi.
Several species of monkeys are found in almost all the forest areas of India, the two commonest being the Rhesus Macaque and the Common Langur. There are wide regional variations in the body structure and behaviour of monkeys in India.
The Chinkara or the Indian gazelle, the black buck or the Indian antelope, the nilgai or the blue bull, the mouse deer or the Indian chevrotain, the chawsinga or the four homed antelope, wild dog, the fox, the jackal, the hyena, the mongoose, shrews, hedgehogs, mole, bats, rodents and squirrels are the other mammals found in the Indian forests.
India also abounds in large variety of reptiles, although many of them are now endangered species. There are more than 200 species or subspecies of snakes, the best known being the Cobra, Krait and Russel’s Viper.
These are poisonous snakes while Dhaman is a non-poisonous large snake. The length of the King Cobra may be well over five metres which makes him the longest poisonous snake. However, the Rock Python and the Reticulated Python may be seven metres long, weighing over 115 kg.
Several snakes living in water are also poisonous, although many of them are non- poisonous. The Blunt Nosed or Marsh Crocodile (the Magar or Mugger) and the long nosed Gharial are important large sized reptiles, although their number has drastically reduced.
They are hunted for their skins which fetch handsome price. The big Estuarine Crocodile is still found from the Ganga to the Mahanadi. The lizards include well known Chameleon and the monitor lizard or varanus.
They are found both in deserts and forests but are endangered species. India has some important breeding beaches for a number of species of turtle. In Orissa about 3,00,000 Olive Ridley Turtles breed while Hawksbill Turtles breed in southern Tamil Nadu.
India is extremely rich in bird life. There are about 2,000 species of birds in India which is about three times the number of species found in Europe. Although most of the birds have their origin in India, a number of them have their source in other areas. Some birds such as ducks, cranes, swallows, and fly-catchers migrate from central Asia to the wetlands of Bharatpur every winter. Recently, some migratory birds have been seen near Mathura.
Indian bird-life has all the varieties of birds including aquatic, gallinaceous and arboreal. Aquatic birds include a large variety of storks, herons, ducks, flamingoes, egrets and cormorants. Among the waders and shore birds are the snipes, iluses, gulls, cranes and the lapwings.
The Great Indian Bustard, pea fowl, jungle fowl, quail and partridge are the main ground birds. Babblers, barbits, bulbuls, mynas, pigeons, parakeets, doves, cuckoos, rollers, beaters, fly-catchers, orioles, warblers, wagtails, finchlarks, finches, drongos, hoops, etc. are other important birds.
India is the home of a large number of birds of prey, the important being owl, eagle, kite, falcon, kestrel, etc. Peacock is the national bird of India. Its magnificant plumage symbolizes the colour and wealth of India s bird life.