Five endangered species in India

By on May 15, 2022 0

We live in a world where fascinating animals, insects, plants and other creatures are threatened with extinction. May 20 is celebrated as Endangered Species Day. The day is observed to celebrate, learn and take action to protect threatened and endangered species.

The day was established by David Robinson and the Endangered Species Coalition in 2006. Here we take a look at species that are falling into oblivion and appearing on the endangered species list in India.

The large adjutant stork: It is one of the rarest stork species in the world, breeding only in India and Cambodia. They are largely scavengers and play a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The bird is endangered, with only 800 to 1200 remaining worldwide.

In India, a third of their population survives in landfills on the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam. Greater warrant officers are threatened given the steady decline of their wetland habitats due to pollution and rapid urbanization.

Large Stork Warrant Officer | YPF Photo

Western Hoolock Gibbon: They live in small families comprising the male, the female and their young, and communicate with other gibbons by vocalization. They depend on connected forest canopies for food and dispersal, which is essential for their survival.

The expansion of linear infrastructure into their already shrinking habitats of evergreen forests poses a threat to their existence. In Assam, near the Hoollongapar Wildlife Sanctuary, gibbons survive in patches of fragmented forest and agricultural fields. Hoolock Gibbon is the only non-human ape found in India.

Western Hoolock Gibbon

Western Hoolock Gibbon | YPF Photo

Lion-tailed macaque: The lion-tailed macaque is found in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in India, mainly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Their distinctive lion-like mane and tail are the origin of their name.

Generally shy, they avoid interacting with humans and move in groups. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) states that there are only 2400 to 2500 lion-tailed macaques left. Factors such as habitat destruction, climate change, poaching and pollution have contributed to the rapid decline in their numbers.

Lion-tailed macaque:

Lion-tailed macaque: | YPF Photo

Asiatic lion: The mighty Asiatic lion is native to the Indian subcontinent, but is only found as a single subpopulation in Gir National Park in Gujarat. It is distinguished from African lions by a smaller mane and longer collar.

For several centuries, the Asiatic lion was found throughout the Middle East and northern India, but was classified as an endangered species after its numbers began to decline in the early 20th century. The 2020 Asiatic Lion Census showed a 29% population increase since 2015, with 674 lions currently living in Gir National Park.

asiatic lion

Asiatic lion | YPF Photo

Kashmiri red deer

The only surviving subspecies of the elk native to Kashmir, the Kashmir red deer, Hangul, which is found in the high forests of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, is critically endangered. At the start of the 20th century, hanguls numbered in the thousands, but over the century poaching and habitat destruction (by overgrazing of cattle, for example) led to a sharp drop in their numbers. It was only after a census carried out in the 1970s that this alarming fall was brought to the attention of the competent authorities.

According to a 2019 census, only 237 hanguls remain. The Hangul Conservation Project aims to protect and increase the Hangul population through several initiatives

Kashmiri red deer

Kashmiri red deer | YPF Photo

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Published on: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 07:00 IST