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  • 01 April, 2021

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Animals of India - UPSC

Animals of India

  • India has some of the world's most Biodiverse regions, encompassing a wide range of biomes–desert, high mountains, highlands, tropical and temperate forests, swamplands, plains, grasslands, areas surrounding rivers, as well as an island archipelago.
  • It hosts 4 biodiversity hotspots: the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region and the Sundaland (which Includes a group of Islands), with numerous endemic species.

Important facts about Wildlife and Protected areas of India.

  • The Lion is found naturally only in India, besides Africa. In India, its only natural habitat is the Gir forest (Saurashtra) in Gujarat. In 1972, the Gir Lion Project was launched for its protection.
  • The One-horned rhinoceros is found only in India. Project Rhinoceros was launched in 1987 for its protection. It's protected in Kaziranga (Assam). Besides this place, it is found in the marshy lands of Manas (Assam) and Jaldapara (West Bengal).
  • The Keoladeo (Ghana) Bird Sanctuary is famous as the winter migratory place for the Siberian crane. It is India’s largest bird sanctuary.
  • The Nandan Kanan Zoological Park (Bhubaneswar, Odisha) is famous for the white tiger.
  • India’s largest zoo is in Alipore, Kolkata.
  • The Gangetic dolphins live in the Ganga. They are blind by birth.
  • India is just 2% of the world's land mass but is home to 8% of the world’s biodiversity.
  • Among plants, 33% of the world's species are endemic to India.
  • Mangroves in India account for about 3% of the world's entire mangrove vegetation.
  • India is home to 12% of the world’s bird species.
  • In terms of endemism, India's position is tenth in birds with 69 species, fifth in reptiles with 156 species and seventh in amphibians with 110 species.
  • The Kharai, a unique breed of camels that can swim are found only in Kutch, Gujarat.
  • Four animals – the cheetah, Lesser Indian Rhinoceros, Pink-headed duck, and the Himalayan Mountain Quail – have become extinct in the last century.

Animals of Eastern Himalayas


(IUCN Status)




Namdapha Flying Squirrel


Endemic to

Namdapha (AR)


Arboreal(live on trees), Nocturnal,

Red/ Lesser Panda or Red Cat


Endemic to

Nepal Bhutan, Myanmar, SWChina &

NE.India = SK, AS, AR

Padmaja naidu conservation (Darjeeling)

Solitary animal, State Animal- SK.

Feeds bamboo

Threat: Inbreeding, Depression

Thamin/ Brow Ant/ Sangai/ Dancing Deer


South and SE Asia. Manipur.

Kaibul Lamjao (MN),

AR Mouling and Dihang Dibang

Threat: Loktak Power Generation Reservoirs,

Pygmy Hog



Endemic to: India, Nepal and Bhutan.

AS- Sonai Rupai, Manas Orang.

World's smallest wild pig.

Sonai Rupai.

Threat: Loss and degradation of grasslands

Takin Goat


Mainly AR. Bhutan, China, Myanmar.

AR- Namdapha , Mouling and Dihang Dibang

National animal of Bhutan.

Clouded Leopard


S.China, Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar and NE.India = AR, ML, SK, NG.

Namdapha (AR) and Itangki NP (NG)

State Animal Meghalaya

Golden Cat


Endemic to.

Him foothill.

SE Asia, S.China.

NE- Arp to Mizo

Dampa (MZ)

In news 2020: As it is found in 6 different colors.

Snow Leopard


Alpine zones,

High Mt of

C.Asia, JK & AR

Leopard Top 3 Habitats: China(60%), followed by Mongolia and India.

SECURE Himalaya

GSLEP- Global Snow Leopard Eco-system Protection Pgm.

Bishkek Declaration

State animal-HP National Animal- Pakistan

Natural Habitat: Lake Baikal, S.Siberia, Kunlun, Altan, Tian shan, Sayan ranges, Pamir Mts

2015: Yr of Snow Leopard.

Threat: shrinking of Alpine Zone.

Hispid Hare/ AS Rabbit


Assam, NE, Southern foothills of C.Himalayas.

Dudwa(UP), Valmiki(BH), Manas, Orang Nameri NP, Barnadi WLS (AS), Jaldapara(WB)

Keibul Lamjao (MN)

The hispid hare shelter in burrows made by other animals.

Threat: Agriculture, floods, Development.

Hoolock Gibbon


Assam, E.Bangladesh, NE.India, Myanmar, SW.China, Kalimantan province of Borneo.

Namdhapa NP

Only ape in India.

Arms are actually more than double the length of its legs.

Slow Loris


China, India, Tibet. ML, AR, AS, NG, MN.

Bhalphakram (ML)

Primate (Slender Loris in Bandipur)

White Winged Wood Duck


NE - Only Assam, Arunachal.

called 'Deo Hans' or Spirit Duck in Assamese

Sumatran Rhino


Himalayas and NE. Now in Java and Vietnam

Regionally extinct in India

Smallest, hairiest species of rhino.

Smallest of all 5 species





Ibex Wild Goat/ Himalayan Goat


JK and Leh.

W & E Himalayas, Afghan, China, Russia.

Hemis NP

(Also Asiatic and Siberian) Lives in a group.

Himalayan Ibex is a sub species of the Siberian Ibex.

Markhor Goat



Chiru/ Tibetan Antelope


Leh - Laddakh

Cold Desert, HP

Shatoosh wool.

Hangul/ Kashmiri Stag



Kashmir Valley. Himachal - Chamba Valley.

Dachigam NP

Forest or Grassland Habitat

State Animal of JK.

Only surviving Asiatic sub species Of European Red Deer

Golden Eagle


Eurasia, C Asia and S Asia.

Forest,shrubland,rocky area,Desert

Not widely distrib species of Eagle. Electrocution, Poisoning and Habitat Loss.

Snow Leopard


S.China, Tibet, Bhutan & NE India = AR, ML, SK, NG

Natural Habitat: Lake Baikal, S.Siberia, Kunlun, Altan, Tian shan, Sayan ranges, Pamir Mts

Namdapha (AR) and Itangki NP (NG)

2015: Yr of Snow Leopard.

Himalayan Brown Bear/ Red Bear

Tibetan, Nepal, N India and North Pak

Himalayan Black Bear(EN)

India,Bhutan, China,Pakistan

Musk deer


East himalaya, nepal,bhutan,India

Kedarnath musk deer sanctuary





Barasingha/ Swamp Deer


Terai to MP

Kanha, MP

Largest in size in deer family.

Wild Dog/ Dhole/ Dingo (Aus)


MP to KAR Plateau.

NE, C India and C Asia.

1st time in Tiger census (Bear and Panther).

Habitat Loss and Loss of Prey.



Mainly Chambal

Ganga and their tributaries

Extinct in Indus, Brahma, Bangladesh and Irawaddy (Mugger - VU. FW + Marshes)

(Saltwater crocodile - LC. Bhitarkanika)

Mouse Deer


TN, KL and some W coastal region.

Goa - Mollem NP.

Muddumalai, Mundanthurai in TN. Evergreen.

Peninsula/ Plateau Region



Conservation at


Slender lorises



Bandipur NP, KN

Slow Loris in Bhalpakram, ML

Lion Tailed Macaque/ Wanderoo


KL andKA(Western Ghats)

Endemic to Bandipur NP, KN

Decreasing pattern mainly coz of changing Land use pattern and plantation in KL.

Bonnet Macaque



Nilgiri Langur/ Leaf Monkey


WG (TN and KL)

Endemic to Nilgiri , WG

Intro of exotic species led to loss.

Nilgiri Tahr


TN - Coimbatore region. KL. Nilgiri BSR.

Endemic to WG, Annamalai TR

Deforestation, Changing Land Use. State animal of TN. Largest of 3 Tahr.

Nilgiri Marten



Endemic to Nilgiri BSR

Only species of Marten found in S India.

Asiatic Elephant


W, C and Penin India

4 major clusters :

1)Mudumalai - Annamalai,

2) Rajaji - Corbett,

3) JH- OD-WB till Darjeeling and

4) Assam(Around Kaziranga)

Census: Direct Counting and Dry Dung. Hunting for Ivory, Habitat Loss. MAC.

Mouse Deer

Muddumalai, Mundanthurai

Goa - Mollem NP

Kondana Rat


Sinhagad, Pune

Tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests.

Large Rock Rat


Only from EG

Endemic to EG

Nocturnal. Habitat Loss.

Malabar Civet


WG (Kerala)

Endemic to WG Thiruvananthpuram

Gaur/ Indian Bison


Evergreen forests.

Domesticated = Gayal, Mithun.

Western India/ Desert



Conservation at

IUCN/ Endemic


Great Indian Bustard


L Shape = RJ, GJ, MP, MH, KN, TS. In

Pak = Houbara Bustard. Savannah to Tropical Grasslands.

Grasslands but not covered in FCA, 1980. Hence

no conservation of habitat.

Critically Endangered. Endemic.

Highest and Biggest bird of India. Can fly. Part of Project GIB. RJ State Bird.

Population decreasing coz grassland destruction and illegal hunting and poaching for meat.

Wild Ass/ Khur/ Onger


RJ - GJ. China, Iran, Turkmenistan. Rann of Kutch.

RJ & GJ in India. Desert NP. Wild Ass Sanctuary – Rann of Kuchch by Maldhari.

Endangered. Endemic.

No predator but endangered coz Habitat Loss.

Sloth/ Dancing Bear


Mt, Abu Aravalli. Nepal, SL, Bhutan.

Vulnerable. Endemic.

Smallest in size. Popln decreasing coz of mining. Threat from Tiger and Leopard.

Habitat Loss

Desert Lizard



Desert NP




Bhavnagar. Present in Bet Island.

Fakrani Jat + Rabari community is conserving them

V Specialized - Kharai Camels. Can Swim. Can eat saline water plant species. Milk cure diabetes and Hair long and used for manuf of stolls and bags.

Endangered coz of their meat.



Africa, S Asia and EU

Rann of Katch


Human Intrusion and Pollution

Chinkara/ Indian Gazelle


W India, Pak, Afghan, Iran (Desert)

Protected in RJ mainly coz of religious sentiments.

Least Concerned. Endemic.

Live in groups.

Coastal Regions

Sundarban Delta

Odisha Coast

Coromandal Coast & A&N

  1. Man Eater Tiger(EN)
  2. Saltwater Crocodiles(LC)
  3. BASKA and BATAGUR Turtles(CR) = they are Omnivorous.
  4. Starback Turtles
  5. Crab Eater/ Pig Tailed Macaque
  6. Black Tailed Macaque
  1. Bottlenose and Irawaddy Dolphins found in Chilka Lake(EN)
  2. Olive Ridley Turtles(VU) found in Garimatha, Rishikulya River and Bahuda River
  3. Starback Turtles found in Bhitarkanika and Tikrapara
  4. Saltwater Crocodiles(LC)
  5. White Tiger(EN)

  1. Dugong Sea Cow(EN)

found in IO, BoB, Go Khambat and SW Pacific Ocean.

  1. Turtles (Olive Ridley, Leatherback and Green)
  2. Hornbill(VU) found in Narcondam (A&N), Nagaland and Western Ghats (KL, KN). State Bird of Nagaland.
  3. Nicobarese Pigeon
  4. Crab Eater/ Pig Tailed Macaque(VU)
  5. False Killer Whale(NT)

found in Indian Ocean (A&N) and Pacific Ocean

  1. Andaman White Tooth Shrew found in S Andaman found in Nocturnal. Critically Endangered

Source: IUCN

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