India is amongst the top twelve countries in the world in terms of wildlife and forests depicting ‘Mega Diversity’. Remote mountains icy plateaus, moist evergreen foothills, rainforests and dry scrub, deserts, saline flatlands, mangrove swamps, lush mountain forests, grassy meadows, shaded pools of water; tall feathery bamboo all collectively supports an amazing variety of wildlife.
Since centuries ago animals have been worshipped in India for instance elephants are seen as Lord Ganesha and monkeys as Hanumana.
A very large number national parks and sanctuaries have now been established in India to provide natural habitat to animals. “TIGER” is National Animal & “PEACOCK” is National Bird Of India. This is only place in the world where one can see the majestic beauty of Tiger in a single visit of Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Ranthambore National Park. Tiger is now become a Prime animal of India.
Corbett national park -India’s oldest national park and Periyar Reserve hosts the home of the Asian Elephants. The Kaziranga in Assam is the homeland of one horned Rhino. Gir forest of Gujrat is now the only place in entire Asia for Asiatic Lion. The world’s heritage Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a smattering of wetland attracts some of the greatest congregations of migratory waterfowl.
Its flora comprises 15000 flowering plants that are 6% of the world’s total. India’s faunal diversity is also high, with its 1178 bird species representing 14% of the world’s total. Similarly there are Over 500 species of mammals, 30,000 insects and over 400 varieties of reptiles. In short this sub-continent is a paradise for those who love to observe the grace and beauty of the flora and fauna and for those who want to capture it on film.
With an amazing variety of flora and fauna it is unfortunate to know that around 250 animals are endangered and in need of immediate protection. A few of them like Cheetah have already been extinct and many more are there in the queue surviving woefully on its last legs for instance Tiger, Golden Langur a few varieties of deers and monkeys and certainly some of the birds.
There had been several efforts made by the Indian Government to protect and perverse this rich wildlife and splendid nature. One of the success stories is that of the “Project Tiger” the most spectacular one and the one, which has saved many forests under its wide umbrella. Project Tiger succeeded mainly through the strong, evocative symbol of the tiger itself, in rallying public opinion not in India but worldwide.
In 1972 India declared a number of animals and birds as completely protected and started “project tiger”, declaring 11 sanctuaries, reserved forests and national parks for tigers exclusively in the Indian subcontinent. Measures to preserve wildlife taken since independence have been fruitful to some extent. Now we have over 200 sanctuaries, national parks and reserve forests spread all over the country. Some of these are as big as 780 sq. km and the smaller ones around 26 sq.km in area. The majority of these are well connected by road and rail and some even by air. Furnished rooms, dormitories, rest house of the Forest Department and private hotels with all amenities are available. In most of the sanctuaries and national parks, roads are good. In some places there are watchtowers near water holes. Common animals found in abundance.