Biodiversity of India

India is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. It is a large biodiversity hotspot with its many ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas in the north to the evergreen rain-forests of Western Ghats in the south, the desert sands of the Rajasthan in the west to the marshy mangroves of the Sundarban in the east. India is home to about 7.6% of mammal, 14.7% of amphibian, 6% of avian (bird), 6.2% of reptilian, and 6.0% of flowering plant species. India’s forest lands nurture about 500+ species of mammals and 2000+ bird species. Even four of India’s national symbols consist India’s mammals.

India is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world and contains four of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots – the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas, the Indo-Burmaland and Sundaland. It is one of the seventeen megadiverse countries. The country has seven Natural World Heritage sites, eighteen Biosphere Reserves and twenty six Ramsar Wetlands. It is believed that India along with the sixteen other megadiverse countries contains about 60-70% of the world’s biodiversity.

India has the largest population of deer as well as tiger in the world. Native to the subcontinent are the unique species such as the Indian Sloth Bear, the Chausinga antelope and Barasinga. It is home to majestic Bengal and Indochinese tiger, royal Asiatic lions, Indian and Indochinese leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, various species of Deer, including Chital, Hangul, Barasingha; the Indian Elephant, the Great Indian Rhinoceros, and many others. The region’s diverse wildlife is preserved in 104 national parks, 18 Bio-reserves and more than 535 wildlife sanctuaries across the country.

In response to decrease in the numbers of wild animals and increasing human encroachment and poaching activities, the government of India established a system of national parks and protected areas in 1935, which was subsequently expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial habitat. Further, federal protections were announced in the 1980s.

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