Wildlife basically has many definitions to it. The most basic definition includes all the flora and fauna in the wild regions of a country.
That is all living habitats living in deep jungles and in the wild forests can be simply classified under the term ’wildlife’.
If we were to seek a scientific explanation to the term, the meaning slightly gets altered.
In scientific terms, wildlife refers to the animals in particular, that are moving around freely and without any restriction in the wild jungles that have hardly any impositions created by human interference.
Wildlife classification region-wise
To study the wildlife of India and understand it from a different perspective, we need to divide the wildlife according to their habitat regions and then study them in detail.
So, the wildlife of India can be majorly found in these 3 regions namely:
- The Himalayan belt
- Tropical rain forest belt and
- The big sized peninsular region.
Let us now study the heritage of wildlife in India by going in detail into the three sub regions.
The Himalayan belt can be further classified into the eastern Himalayan region and the Western Himalayan region. The features and land structure of both the regions vary from each other.
The land composition is entirely different on both the sides. Let us first understand the geographical topology of these regions. Both are covered by thick forest cover.
But the eastern Himalayas have the features of rain forests, whereas the western Himalayas have the geographical compositions of temperate forests.
The eastern Himalayas are also unique, in that they have huge extending lands covered mostly by thick forest grass.
The grasslands make it difficult for many species to survive. The eastern region of the Himalayas is unique, in that, the majority of the region is placed at a very high altitude.
So, the rain forests receive more rainfall and less snowfall through the year. Because of the variation in specific climatic conditions here, the animals also make a shift of region between the summers and winter months.
The commonly found animals on the eastern region are goats, pandas, badgers and porcupines. The species of goats and pandas found in the Himalayan belts are different from that of other regions.
The wildlife also depends on the availability of vegetation for animals to survive on them. So, in the eastern part, which is mostly characterized by high altitudes, we see the presence of pines and oaks.
The eastern parts of the Himalayas have plenty of bamboos that can actually survive the thick cover of snow. These regions are so thickly covered by snow that the vegetation that grows here, mainly aims to conserve water.
Vegetation sustains here even in the absence of water, since most of the time the land is under snow cover. Some of the common animals found in this part of the region are asses, sheep, yaks and goats.
Both assess and goats are of the wild species and not the ones found in non-mountainous regions. They have specific characteristics of adaptation to the hilly regions, hence survival on these terrains and life in general is tough for them.
Among the other animals that could be found slouching amidst the thick grass cover are khair, sissoo. These are peculiar names drawn from the hilly trenches of the region.
Among the wilderness, the common types of animals found in other forest regions of the country are also found. Elephants, cheetahs, tigers, panthers and bears also consider the Himalayan belt their homes.
The one-horned rhinoceros is a rare animal not found anywhere else in the country. It is also considered to be an endangered species due to its dwindling population and can be found in the foothills of Himalayas.
The region in the northern part of India, the regions of West Bengal and down to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands show similarity in the type of topology they share.
They are covered by a thick cover of evergreen forests. Most of the tress found here are exceptionally tall. The huge heights of trees help form canopies at small distances.
This facilitates the growth of both vegetation and provides the perfect home for animals to dwell. Two types of wildlife can be seen here.
One that rest on tree branches and in turn make the tree their homes. The other one, the land animals that make the forest land their home. This thick evergreen forest cover also produces rich agricultural produce.
Elephants find a perfect breeding place in thick evergreen forests like these. Not just elephants, in general, the region are usually inhabited by a variety of land animals because the conditions are so suitable for their dwelling, breeding and finding food.
Some of the common types of wildlife found here are Pigs, Hornbill, Megapode, Eagles, Wild cats and Snakes. The specialty of snakes found in the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is unique and they are legless creatures.
The section of Nicobar Islands that has very less human population and is inhabited by tribal is a totally different kind of place.
The uniqueness of this place lies in its vegetation and contributes to a majority share in the biodiversity rate of the country. Padauk and Gurjai are common species of trees found here.
Next we come to the region of West Bengal. This region needs no mention and is world famous for the Sunderbans. The name itself is got from the fact that the region is thickly inhabited by the sundari trees.
The animals found here are pigs, Deers, lizards, monkeys etc. A special type of ants usually climbs the branches of trees, they are known as waver ants.
They make their homes on top of the tree branches. The Bengal white tiger, the famous tigers of the Sunderbans are world famous and well known for their majesty.
They hide inside small spaces and the attack on human beings is something to be very careful about. Monkeys of different species can be found hanging from trees here, but the rhesus monkey is especially famous in this part of the country.
The uniqueness and specific diversity of wildlife can be traced in these two classifications of the country. The major chunk of the classification where majority of wildlife reside is yet to be discussed about.
The foothills of the Himalayas till Kanyakumari come under the peninsular region. This mostly consists of flat lands. The Malabar Coast though shows peculiarity and is thus removed from the list.
This big chunk of classification contains the Aravalli ranges and the Rajasthan portions in it.
Majority of the forest regions in this part of the classification come under the deciduous forest cover. Trees are mostly deciduous in nature.
We know that the Rajasthan parts of the country are most covered by desert areas. So, the areas found in the desert areas are undoubtedly dry and the vegetation that grows here must undoubtedly support very less usage of water.
So, water conservation plants such as succulents and cacti are found here. The vegetation found here can be termed as dry savanna vegetation including thorn and scrub forests.
Black bucks, cats, snakes, lizards and asses are specialties of the region and they are spread through the biggest chunk of the classification. Tigers and rhinoceros could also be spotted in these regions.
The major factors that affect the living conditions of wildlife are the land that supports their dwelling capabilities, apart from the vegetation that provides them their feed.
There could be many more species of animals in these forests, particularly lions and common tigers.
The topology of the land along the climatic conditions, together with specific vegetation norms help wild animals survive in the thick canopies of forest covers.
Many species of both plants and animals are on the verge of extinction. We must join hands with the government to conserve wildlife.