Any animals that are at risk of extinction because of a sudden rapid decrease in its population or a loss of its critical habitat are known as Endangered Animals.
So, Do you wish to see rare and endangered animals of India that might go extinct?
Have you ever seen a dinosaur in real life? Surely not. Because this gigantic animal that once roamed the Earth is now extinct.
Similarly, here in this article, we've listed down 10 most endangered animal species in India that may go extinct over the next few years.
Meaning, we would never be able to see them again.
If you are a wildlife lover, this might be your last chance to see few of endangered animals of India listed below.
List of 10 Most Endangered Animals in India
There’s a global organization known as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Every year, they issue a ‘Red List’ for every member country.
The IUCN Red List contains names, genus and species of all animals that are critically endangered in a country, including India.
Here’s their list of most rare animals in India.
1. Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvania)
2. Sambar (Rusa unicolor)
Sambar is a horned, wild animal that lives in wetlands, shrubby areas and grasslands of India.
This animal also features on IUCN Red List as ‘Critically Endangered’ for three reasons.
The population of Sambar is dropping steadily due to rampant illegal hunting, despite strict Indian wildlife laws.
Life imprisonment is the penalty for killing a Sambar. Yet, it is hunted illegally for its horns, meat and body parts that some people consume as aphrodisiacs.
The Sambar’s habitat is also threatened by pollution. Humans are increasingly encroaching upon areas where the Sambar lives, which has led to a steady decline in its numbers.
IUCN verifies that Sambar numbers are declining.
3. Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)
Indian Pangolin is a very unusual looking animal since its entire body is covered with thick scales.
Reason: The Indian Pangolin feeds on all sorts of ants. IUCN lists them as critically endangered since their population is steadily declining in India.
This animal is largely harmless to humans and is very shy. Hence, poachers target it easily.
The Indian Pangolin is a critically endangered animal in India because of its illegal hunting.
There is a common belief that consuming its scales and genitals increases libido and sexual powers among men. Its meat is falsely claimed to have magical cures.
4. Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
Thankfully, the population of Indian Rhinoceros is increasing due to massive efforts by the Indian government.
However, IUCN continues to list Indian Rhinoceros as ‘Vulnerable’ because it stands at critical crossroads as endangered animal species.
The Indian Rhinoceros is typically found in North Eastern states of India, especially Assam, where it is venerated by some tribes.
Despite, illegal hunting for its thick skin and the single horn continue to threaten this fierce wild animal.
5. Nilgiri Langoor (Trachypithecus johnii)
Found mainly in southern India and around the Nilgiri range of mountains, the population of this languor is increasing slowly.
However, the rapid loss of forests and its habitat are a cause of concern to IUCN, which places it on the ‘Vulnerable’ list of wild animals.
A 2017 assessment by IUCN identifies seven different threats to the Nilgiri Langoor- construction and development, energy production and mining, agriculture and aquaculture, building roads and rail networks, building dams and hunting.
6. Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus)
With less than 2,500 remaining around the world, the IUCN lists Malayan Tapir as an endangered wild animal in India.
This animal looks very unique due to its body structure that resembles both, a swine and an elephant.
In 2017, IUCN found seven major threats to the Malayan Tapir population in India.
These include encroachment on its habitat by humans, construction of power plants, mining, deforestation, irrigation projects, illegal logging, fires and other natural hazards as well as hunting.
7. Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
Worldwide, the population of the Indian Elephant is estimated at 27,000 or lower.
The Indian elephant is a legendary animal of this country. This is because Indian elephants feature in local folklore, mythology and are closely associated with various Hindu deities.
Though India has a fairly sizeable population of this pachyderm, it is classified as ‘Endangered’ by IUCN.
And for good reason. The Indian elephant is a victim of massive hunting for its tusks. Ivory from Indian elephants is popular worldwide.
More threats to the Indian elephant include domestication for use in sawmills and farms as well as religious ceremonies and movies. Rampant deforestation is also robbing the Indian elephant of its precious habitat.
Since the Indian elephant is a herbivore, air, soil and water pollution on its grazing grounds also threatens their existence.
8. Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus arnee)
India’s Wild Water Buffalo is unable to cope with rapid development that encroaches on its habitat and grazing lands.
Unfortunately, this animal is a target of poachers that hunt illegally for its prized meat.
The IUCN report of 2017 says less than 2,500 such animals remain across the country, thus making it a very rare animal in India.
Efforts by the Indian government have brought about 70 per cent of the Wild Water Buffalo population under protection. As a result, the animal now lives in highly secure animal sanctuaries.
Hunting is strictly prohibited and attracts very stiff penalties. Sadly, the Wild Water Buffalo population in India is also threatened by disease and preying by other species.
9. Dhole (Cuon alpinus)
The IUCN estimates between 949 and 2,215 of this wild animal now survive across the Indian subcontinent.
The Dhole is a type of wild canine that lives in India. It now comes under the endangered category of IUCN.
Other than threats such as deforestation and human development, the Dhole is also at high risk from viral and other diseases. Further, it is also threatened by other animals and hunters.
There are several efforts now underway to try and breed the Dhole in its natural habitat that would see its sagging population rise.
10. Gaur (Bos gaurus)
There are strong reasons why Gaur populations in India are declining. Its habitat is located in regions where massive construction and industrialization is happening right now.
Hence, IUCN lists the Gaur as an endangered wild animal in India.
Worldwide, the Gaur population stands between 6,000 and 21,000 only.
Illegal hunting, massive construction activity and pollution are the main threats the Gaur faces.
Additionally, it is also at risk from various disease. The Gaur is a herbivore. It is generally harmless towards humans unless threatened.
Some communities hunt the Gaur illegally for its meat and trade in body parts.
Protecting Endangered Animals
The Indian government and its various ministries, as well as large corporations, are taking concrete steps towards the preservation and conservation of our natural heritage.
As a result, several wild animals that were critically endangered are somewhat outside threat levels.
There are excellent changes they will no longer come under the endangered category if efforts pay off.
India covers more than 3.287 sq.km lands and is the world’s fifth largest country. But only 21.54 per cent of India has forest cover. This means areas, where wild animals can live freely, is very limited.
India is home to about eight per cent of all recorded species in the world. These include over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals says the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN also lists endangered species of birds, plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians and every other type of living creature found on Planet Earth. Hence, the IUCN Red List also contains a lot of these denizens whose existence stands under threat.
Humans pose the greatest risk to the survival of these rare animals. Hence, it is very important to conserve and increase numbers of most endangered animals in India.