India's Flora and Fauna

Due to wide range of physical and climatic conditions with varied vegetation as a result of special ecological conditions, India has a very rich variety of flora and fauna stretching from the northern temperate zone to the equator and the Himalayas in the north and tropical sea-coast in the south. Indian subcontinent has been divided into three categories consisting of Himalayan sub- region, Tropical rain forest region and Indian Peninsular region.

With 89,451 species, India contributes 6.5 per cent of the world's fauna. Indian Fauna includes the wild ass of Rajasthan, Nilgiri Langur, Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri mongoose and Malaber civer of the southern hills, the cheetahs in Deccan plateau and the spotted deer.

There are more than 500 species of mammals including the tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses for which India is renowned, 2000 species and sub-species of birds including the national bird, peacock with large hornbills, parrots, serpent eagles and fishing owls, and about 30,000 species of insects including large and colorful butterflies with some hundreds of species of fish, reptiles and amphibians including magnificent king cobras, pythons, crocodiles, and monitor lizards.

Wild life in India consists of the Asian elephant, the lions, the Royal Bengal Tiger, single horned Indian rhino, the wild buffalo (Indian Bison) many leopards, monkeys and wild goats and smaller cat species and a large variety of deer. Reptiles include a wide range of snakes, lizards and crocodiles. Birds consists of the colorful peacocks and parrots to large stock of migrant water birds, pheasants, geese ducks, mynahs, parakeets, pigeons, cranes, and hornbills..

Most of the fauna is protected by law. India has protected wild life and made strict laws for enforcement with setting up of 86 National Parks, around 40 zoological gardens, 480 wild life Sanctuaries the famous ones being Corbett, Kanha(Madhya Pradesh – famous for tigers), Periyar (Kerala – famous for elephants), Kaziranga (Assam – famous for rhinos), Gir (Gujarat – famous for lions), Ranthambore, the little Rann of Kutch (wild asses) and Point Calimere (Flamingoes). The mangrove forests of Sunderbans are the unique habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The famous Project Tiger scheme financed by the government of India safeguards the tiger in its habitat in nine selected reserves.

With 45,000 species of plants and shrubs, Indian flora comprises 7% of the world's flora. From the coniferous to the ever green, from scrubs to deciduous forests and thick tropical jungles to cool temperate woods, the Indian-flora has a great range of varieties. The tropical forests in east are much similar to the pine and coniferous woodland of the western Himalayas. The Himalayan foothills are densely populated with deciduous trees pine, oak, deodar, sal and shrubs, fern, grass and bamboos. The southern peninsula contains sandalwood, teak, rosewood, mango, and Indian mahogany. Around 15,000 varieties of subtropical, and tropical flowers are found in their appropriate climatic zones.

Indian culture in many ways has helped protection of wildlife as many animals have been associated with religious ideals and sentiments. In Hindu mythology, gods like Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva) have used mouse, Swan, eagle(garuda) and the bull(nandi) respectively as their vehicles.

The natural home of the majestic tiger, the wild ass, the one-horned rhinoceros, the black buck and the Indian elephant belongs to India. The variety of wildlife which India offers is so promising that you will not be able to find such a fascinating experience before.

A variety of deer and antelope species are found including Indian gazelles (chinkaras), Indian antelopes (blackbucks), diminutive, four-homed ante-lopes (chowsinghas), large and ungainly looking blue bulls (nilgais), rare swamp deer (barasinghas), sambars, India's largest deer, beautiful spotted deer (chitals), the larger barking deer (muntjacs), and the tiny mouse deer (chevrotains). Wild buffaloes, massive Indian bisons (gaurs), striped hyenas, wild pigs, jackals, foxes, wolves, and Indian wild dogs can also be spotted in the Indian forests.

The Brahmaputra Valley has patches of tea plantations and fluorescent-green rice fields, and mulberry trees on which tussar silk worms are bred, cover the slopes.

On the southwestern coast, in Kerala near coconut trees, the path leads to the longest uninterrupted stretch of rain forests. Rain forests regions also include Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman Islands.