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Elephants help define the entire ecosystem and are the “gardeners of the planet”. They consume different varieties of berries, bark, leaves, roots, and foliage; and wander across vast forests, dispersing seeds in their dung. The Indian elephant is listed as an endangered species with only 20,000-25,000 left in the wild.
The Nilgiri marten lives in the hills of the Nilgiris and parts of the Western Ghats. It is the only marten species native to southern India. Owing to its reclusive nature, it is extremely hard to study. It is listed as vulnerable with only 1,000 species left in the wild.
Red pandas dwell in the Eastern Himalayan region of India and also in China. They are skillful acrobats that are arboreal. They are mostly herbivorous and their name comes from a Nepali word “ponya” which means one who eats bamboo. Red pandas are endangered and there are about 10,000 animals left, of which over 50% live in India.
Hunted for its horn, the one horned rhinos were almost extinct, with less than 200 left by the end of the 19th century. Conservation efforts have revived their population and brought their worldwide numbers to around 3,000 now — the bulk of them in Kaziranga, Assam.
The sangai is an endangered subspecies of Elds deer found only in Manipur, India. According to Manipur folklore the animal has a deep cultural significance and is symbolized as the connecting soul between humans and nature.
The Clouded Leopard is the state animal of Meghalaya and an extremely shy, nocturnal, and tree-dwelling species. It is endangered with only about 10,000 remaining in the wild.
India has about 70% of the tiger population of the world. Since poaching and selling of tiger skins has been banned, there has been a slow but steady increase in their numbers.
There are only a few hundred Asiatic lions remaining in the wild, and they all live in the Gir Forest located in Gujarat, India. Unlike African lions, Asiatic lions do not live with the females of their pride unless they’re mating or have a big hunt.