India - Nature and Wildlife
India is home to a wide array of ecozones including deserts, mountains, tropical and temperate forests, rivers, plains and even an island archipelago. It is therefore not surprising that India hosts 7.6% of the world’s mammal population, 12.6% of all birds, 11.7% of all fish, 4.4% of all amphibians and 6% of all flowering plant species. Recent decades have seen the population of India grow immensely, which has posed a massive threat to India’s wildlife. As a result of this problem, as well as the implications of illegal hunting and poaching, the system of national parks and reserves first established in 1935 has expanded. There are now 87 National Parks, 13 Bio reserves and over 400 wildlife sanctuaries located throughout the country.
Animals like the Asian Elephant, the Bengal Tiger, the Asiatic Lion, the Leopard and the Indian Rhinoceros are very important to Indian culture and are associated with deities. The popularity of such animals aid in conservation efforts and they are increasingly important for wildlife and ecotourism. As a result of this, many national parks and reserves are dedicated to preserving these animals.
Project Tiger was established in India in 1972 to “maintain a visible tiger population in their native environment”. At the turn of the century, the tiger population was estimated to be around 40,000, however a tiger census conducted in 2008 discovered only 1,411 remained. Project Tiger works to increase this number and had set up thirty-nine wildlife reserves around the country covering more than 37,761 square kilimetres. This project is considered by many to be one of the most successful conservation efforts in modern history.
Project Elephant is a lesser known, but equally important conservation project established in 1992. Its aim is to protect elephants, their habitats and migration corridors to ensure the long-term survival of elephants in India.
Kaziranga National Park was developed in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts in the state of Assam over one hundred years ago. It has been listed as one of India’s twenty-nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites as it is home to two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceros population. It is also an important bird sanctuary and tiger reserve and hosts a large breeding population of elephants and wild water buffalos.
The seventeen Biospheres in India protect not only the natural fauna of the country, they also serve to protect the beautiful flora, many of which are only found in India. The lotus is the national flower of India, while orchid and marigold plants are plentiful. Many flowers are used for medicinal purposes while bougainvillea, roses and jasmine are popular simply because of their extraordinary beauty. Many trees found in India hold special cultural and religious significance and hundreds of trees are protected as living, natural monuments. The official tree of India is the Banyan, while trees like the Indian rosewood, the Ashwagandha and the Brahmi are all popularly grown.
India Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to India.
Learn about the history and culture of India, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about India's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering India for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our India tours today!
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