The 10 endangered species of India heading towards extinction
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India is home to some of the world’s most spectacular and diverse wildlife habitats, but this is starting to change. The country is currently home to 10 endangered species rapidly heading towards extinction.
Explore what’s behind this alarming trend and how you can help protect these endangered species of India. We will discuss the threats these species face and ways you can help prevent their extinction. So whether you’re a conservationist or just interested in wildlife, this blog is for you.
Know the species heading towards extinction
1. Asiatic Lion
The Asiatic lion, also known as the Indian lion, is a critically endangered big cat species in India and Pakistan. It is smaller than its African cousins, with a larger tail tuft and a distinct belly fold. As the name suggests, the Asiatic lion was historically native across southwest Asia to eastern India. But now, the species’ entire population can only be found in India and is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in Gujarat.
2. Snow Leopard
Like the Asiatic lion, the snow leopard used to have much larger habitats in Asia, from where it roamed across the mountain ranges. But now, it can be found only in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the western and eastern parts of the Himalayas, with a population number down to about 500 in India. Unsurprisingly, this decline is due to human interference, namely poaching for its pelt and body parts, and a rapid deterioration of prey due to increasing domestic livestock, which depletes the high-altitude pasture lands.
3. One-horned Rhinoceros
The poaching of their horns has severely impacted one-horned rhinoceros populations for decades. These horns are believed to have medicinal properties and are heavily targeted by poachers. The population is also affected by regular flooding seasons, which cause the rhinos to move to higher ground and outside national parks, increasing risks of human-wildlife conflicts.
Due to severe poaching and habitat loss, the blackbuck, also known as the Indian antelope, is now one of the most endangered species in India. In 1947, there were around 80,000 blackbucks. But that number fell to 8,000 in less than 20 years. Despite conservation efforts that help population numbers go back to about 25,000, factors such as predating stray dogs – which India has one of the highest rates of – pesticides and moving vehicles all continue to threaten this species.
5. Lion-tailed Macaque
The lion-tailed macaque is an endemic species to the small and severely fragmented rainforests of the Western Ghats in South India. This monkey is recognizable by its silver-white mane that surrounds its head. Estimates place the total wild population of this species around 4,000 individuals, with a projected decline of more than 20% in the next 25 years should threats like hunting, roadkill, and habitat loss persist.
6. Resplendent Tree Frog
This mysterious frog species was only discovered in 2010 at the highest peak of the Western Ghats and had a striking orange hue and several big glands covering its body surface. The glorious tree frog is so rare that it can only be found at the Anamudi summit in Kerala within the Eravikulam National Park. Scientists estimate that there are only about 300 remaining animals and recommend top-priority conservation for this species.
The Eravikulam National Park is a protected area in Kerala, India, with a rich biodiversity due to its location at an altitude of around 1000 m above sea level. It is home to many rare and endangered species, including the glorious tree frog.
7. Kashmiri Red Stag
The Kashmiri red stag has been listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN for decades. It is among the top 15 species of high conservation priority by the Indian Government. As a result, the species is now largely restricted within a 141 sq km area in Dachigam National Park. In the early 1990s, the number of red stags was estimated to be around 5,000 but dramatically decreased to about 150 in 1970 and around 110-130 in 2015. Habitat fragmentation, land encroachment for grazing, and a very low fawn-female ratio are the main causes behind the decline of the red stag’s population.
8. Nilgiri Tahr
This endangered mountain goat species only has about 2,500-3,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Much like the other animals on this list, wildlife poaching and habitat loss have led to the Nilgiri tahr being contained within the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, covering less than 10% of their former range. But for these mountain goats, climate change is expected to be an even bigger threat. The animal lives in high-altitude mountainous grasslands and rocky cliffs of the Western Ghats and is projected to become an unsuitable habitat for the goats as global surface temperatures rise.
9. Indian Bison (Gaur)
The largest and tallest in the family of wild cattle, the Indian bison is an animal native to South Asia and South-East Asia. However, it is facing serious threats from wildlife poaching (for its meat, horns, and medicinal products), shrinking habitats, and food scarcity from the destruction of grasslands. Famously the inspiration behind the brand of energy drink, Red Bull, the bison has unfortunately lost more than 70% of its population in many parts of its range.
10. Bengal tigers
Bengal tigers are iconic species that can be found in several different habitats. They are adaptable animals that can thrive in various climates and conditions. However, the Bengal tiger population has drastically declined over the years due to multiple factors, including poaching for its skin and body parts, human-wildlife conflict, and loss of habitat due to development.
What can we do to protect the endangered species?
The endangered species of India is heading toward extinction due to various factors, including habitat loss, poaching, and disease. To prevent the end of these species, it is important to implement conservation measures such as protecting habitats, managing wildlife populations, and controlling disease vectors.
These measures can help ensure the long-term survival of these species by preserving their habitats and keeping them healthy.
In addition, it is important to educate the public about the importance of protecting these species and taking preventive measures to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
Every year on the third Friday in May, India observes National Endangered Species Day. This is aimed to raise awareness about endangered plant and animal species. This day serves as a reminder of the numerous animal species that face extinction, as well as how the pronounced effects of climate change are upsetting the formerly stable ecosystem. Where we are losing our wildlife at an unexpected rate, it’s time that we take measures to prevent further extinction.
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Why is the Indian Wild Ass endangered?
The Indian Wild Ass is endangered due to habitat loss, poaching of human settlements and agricultural lands, hunting, and poaching of water resources.
What is the current population of Bengal Tigers in India?
As per the latest estimation, there are around 2,500 Bengal Tigers in India.
Why are the Indian Rhinoceros endangered?
The Indian Rhinoceros is endangered due to habitat loss, poaching of human settlements, poaching of crops in the areas where they used to inhabit, poaching of water bodies for irrigation, and poaching of forests for the timber industry. The rhinoceros are also hunted for their horns, used in traditional medicine and as a status symbol.