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India: A Biodiversity Hot Spot India is an enchanting land of ancient cultures, diverse environments and fantastic wildlife.

It has snow-capped mountains, deserts, forests, wetlands and fertile plains, and its climate ranges from temperate to tropical monsoon. Within India’s borders are some of the most charismatic animals on the planet, including lions, tigers, lesser pandas, camels and elephants. It is also home to a bounty of distinctly Indian species such as cobras, chinkaras, blue bulls and a variety of leaf-eating monkeys called langurs. The people of India are passionate lovers of nature and wildlife, and India has one of the most extensive networks of protected areas in the world. However, as the second most populous nation in the world, there is often conflict between human communities and wildlife. In recent decades, India has seen a number of its beloved animals go extinct. And although it is still one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, the fight to save animal species is only becoming more intense as the population grows. Langur Monkeys Langurs, or leaf monkeys, are Old World primates that feed primarily on leaves. They have long limbs, slender bodies, and opposable thumbs and toes. They are very social animals but can also be extremely territorial. They are found in both the forests and towns of India, and typically coexist quite well with humans. Hanuman Langurs Hanuman langurs are named after the beloved Hindu monkey god Hanuman. They have silvery or brownish fur, long tails and black skin. They stand about 2 feet tall and have tails that are between 2 and 3 feet long. Hanuman langurs eat a variety leaves, seeds, fruit and insects. They also eat bark and soil, which is thought to protect their stomach from the toxins in the plant material that makes up the bulk of their diet. Hanuman langurs are found throughout India in a variety of forest and scrubland habitats, but they also thrive in urban settings. Scientists have long been fascinated by the Hanuman langur's ability to survive in the harshest environments, including the snow-covered Himalayas and scorching hot Indian desert. They are also studied for the flexibility of their social systems, which can range from large and friendly groups to fiercely defended harems. No matter what the social arrangement of a group, most Hanuman langurs typically spend the majority of their time lounging and grooming one another. Hanuman langurs are worshipped for their strength and bravery, and are the sacred monkey of India. In some parts of India they are abundant. In others, they are threatened due to habitat loss and capture for the exotic species trade. Golden Langurs Golden langurs are found in the forests of the Indian state of Assam and neighboring Bhutan. They have black faces and beautiful, long, golden brown fur that forms a pointed tuft on the tops of their heads. They live in groups led by dominant males and spend most of their time in the forest canopy feeding on leaves, fruit and seeds. Like the Hanuman langur, the golden langur is considered a sacred animal in India. Unfortunately, it is also seriously endangered. In recent years, the forest habitat of the golden

animals in India are subject to poaching and being harassed or killed when they wander into farmland or urban areas. The majestic lion. Blue Bulls Blue bulls are a kind of antelope found throughout India's northern plains and woodlands. nocturnal. wood-pecker and the elegant flamingo are some of these of which any country might be proud. the picturesque peafowl. . Chinkaras require large. Often critical animal habitat is lost to development projects. Both sexes have distinctive white markings on their legs and ears. are the smallest antelope on the Asian continent. and males have a pair of curved horns on their heads that may grow to a length of about 8 inches. In addition. conservation in India is often helped by the fact that the Indian people consider forests and many animals to be sacred. They are shy. The males typically have short horns. these customs may prove to be a critical component in the fight to save pristine ecosystems and essential animal habitat. golden langurs will not survive. logging interests. their numbers are in decline in some areas due to hunting and habitat loss. the nimble deer. grassland and desert regions of India. Although blue bulls are considered a sacred animal in India. mostly solitary animals found in woodland. Chinkaras have the remarkable ability to go without water for many days. Female blue bulls are light brown.langur has been destroyed by grazing and timber interests. Fortunately. beliefs. In the coming years. elongated faces and large bodies that can weigh up to about 500 pounds. but mature males have a bluish coloration. The decline is mainly due to loss of suitable habitat and is also a result of poaching. Wildlife and landscapes are protected in India through generations-old traditions. open habitat rather than dense forest. agriculture. unproductive leopard. Find out how you can participate in the golden langur conservation project of India. Get Involved! Would you like to help protect the animals of India? Community Conservation is an organization that is working to save langurs in India. Learn more now. Wildlife is one of the most gracious gifts of nature to this land. They have narrow. which is as rich in its variety and colours as its number. the gorgeous pelican. but are currently endangered and may be on the verge of extinction. though some may grow to 11 inches or more. Conservation in India In a country as densely populated as India. powerful elephant. They were once abundant in India. Chinkaras Chinkaras. the grateful yet fearsome tiger. They have a life expectancy of 12-15 years. space is a hot commodity. Unless deforestation in their range is stopped. attractive antelope. also called Indian gazelles. the beautiful parakeets. and social customs. Animals in India must compete with more than 1 billion people for land and resources. and industrial operations. which is the illegal hunting of an animal.

snake with God Shiva. which has reached the pinnacle of progress and prosperity ignoring the other forms of life. and lion with Goddess Durga rendering the animal pious and protected. wild animals constitute great national resources. Rishis and Munis have been indicated to conserve wildlife fauna such as deer and birds around ashrams. Their role in food chain is crucial. which are used in research as experimental animals and for education. 60000 species of insects and 181 species of amphibians and 46610 species of plants. For example. in protected areas. The niche requirement of these animals is different. According to ecologist more than 600 species of animals and birds are expected to be extinct if not protected by wildlife management.There are 312 species of mammals. Human activities pose the biggest threat to wildlife because expanding human population results in expanding needs of man. With scientific progress and technological development man has started utilizing natural resources at a much larger scale. fishes and deer. man. 1175 species of birds. Wildlife is considered a renewable resource and hence its conservation is essential if we desire sustainable yields. Vedas contain hymns in praise of animals. The role of individual species in ecosystem (for example in food chain) cannot be undermined. About 250 species of animals and birds have become extinct due to several factors including the human population. medicine. swan with Goddess Saraswati. Nature has endowed India with such abundant and varied flora that it compares favorably with that of any country in the world whether it is developed. Their scientific and rational explanation is not being answered. they eat both plants and small animals like insects including mosquitoes and amphibians themselves constitute food for birds. Sanatana Dharma has linked some animals with the specific God or Goddess as the best way of conservation of wildlife. Preservation and protection of wildlife is important from the ecological point of view. Wildlife Management is an ancient phenomenon. skin. Today amphibians are under a threat their population has declined. mammals. . 399 species of reptiles. Continuous increase in population caused an increasing demand for resources. This is cause of ecological concern because some habitats and biomass of amphibians can exceed all other large animals combined. developing or underdeveloped. reptiles and fishes. etc. Over the past 2000 years about 106 species of animals and about 140 species of birds have become extinct because of climate and geographic changes and also by over hunting by man for food. In Arthashastra. fur and many other reasons. etc. These wild animals form important resources because they provide food (meat). python has been associated with God Vishnu. In Mahabharata. Conservationists are often expected to justify their concern about the extinction of species. They are also used for recreational purposes. Chanakya had imposed severe penalties for killing. entrapping and molesting birds. India has large geographical size and variety of climate and habitat.

However. Countrywide uniform legislation in the form of the Wild life (Protection) Act was enacted in 1972 with object of ensuring stricter protection to wildlife and its better management. The 'Project tiger' was launched in 1973 in the Corbett National Park today. With the launching of the crocodile project. 2. A pharmaceutical company is engaged in research to developing a drug from a secretion of frog. scientific direction and completeness to wildlife manage~ and administration. 7. Article 48 of the Constitution of India specifies that. There are many management plans to conserve wild life such as: 1. 7fragile ecosystem on hilly and mountainous areas. In order to preserve the inviolate. 4. A wildlife institute at the national level has been set up in 1982. A national wildlife action plan was launched by the then Prime Minister in Novem 1983. now their number is 95 national parks and 500 wildlife sanctuaries. a ban has been imposed since 1983 on the felling of trees at an elevation of 1000 m and above. there is 28 per cent tiger reserve in all over the country. New scheme has been formulated for captive breeding and for rehabilitation endangered species. covering an area 1. 5. to impart tempo.5 per cent of the total area of country. it has been discovered that many species of these animals have been found containing compounds that are being used in pain killing medicines and for treatment of burns. to impose a severe restriction.Wildlife. 10. to ensure protection and scientific management of the diminishing wildlife in the country. It is documented fact that tribal in Ecuador have been using secretions from the skin of frogs for killing pains. As against 19 national parks and 205 wildlife sanctuaries in 1980. 8. Taking example of amphibians again. 3. besides its crucial role in preventing ecological degradation has other values like serving as a genetic pool for livestock improvement. The Indian Board of Wild life was set up in 1952. on the diversion of forestland to non-forest use. 6. for pharmaceutical industry and other commercial value like providing furs and wools. CONCLUSION The need for conservation of wildlife in India is often questioned because of the apparently incorrect priority in the face of direct poverty of the people. to provide scientific training in wildlife management. The Forest (Conservation) Act was passed 1980. three endangered species of crocodilians have been saved. 9. "The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country" and Article 51-A states that "it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural .

It strives to maintain a viable tiger population in their natural environment.[12] At the turn of the 20th century. started in 1972. The framework was then set up to formulate a project for tiger conservation with an ecological approach. . At the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) General Assembly meeting in Delhi in 1969. a national ban on tiger hunting was imposed.000. Project Tiger has become one of the most successful conservation ventures in modern history. 1973.411 tigers. lakes. Various pressures in the later part of the 20th century led to the progressive decline of wilderness resulting in the disturbance of viable tiger habitats. there are 39 Project Tiger wildlife reserves in India covering an area more than of 37. In 1970.761 km².environment including forests. started in 1992 and works for elephant protection in India. Project Elephant. and in 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act came into force. one estimate of the tiger population in India placed the figure at 40. and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures. though less known. Today. is a major effort to conserve the tiger and its habitats. Launched on April 1. Project Tiger. yet an Indian tiger census conducted in 2008 revealed the existence of only 1. The passing of the Forest Rights Act by the Indian government in 2008 has been the final nail in the coffin and has pushed the Indian tiger to the verge of extinction. The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted 'tiger reserves' which are representative of various bio-geographical regions falling within India. rivers. and several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries cater to these needs. serious concern was voiced about the threat to several species of wildlife and the shrinkage of wilderness in India.[13] Most of India's rhinos today survive in the Kaziranga National Park."[11] Large and charismatic mammals are important for wildlife tourism in India.