The union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India had the highest number of wildlife sanctuaries in 2021. This came as no surprise since an estimated 86 percent of the its land is home to some of the richest flora and fauna. Some species native to the area were feral elephants, wild saltwater crocodiles and four varieties of sea turtles.
Wild fauna in India
The vast geography, from the Himalayan mountains to the coastal seas and everything in between makes India most biodiverse spots totaling three of the world’s 36. Indian forests alone were home to an estimated 500 mammal species and over two thousand species of birds. This makes systemic conservation and protection vital in the region. The country’s national symbols include the Bengal tiger, the peafowl, the Ganges dolphins, and the grey langur.
Wildlife in Indian culture
Popular culture, specifically for children across the south Asian country includes a variety of stories featuring wildlife. Arguably, the most popular were fables from the Panchatantra (translates to Five Treatises) and the Jataka Tales. The former is an ancient collection of Sanskrit verse and prose within a story. The latter is literature based on previous births of Gautama Buddha where he takes the forms of other humans or animals.
In more mainstream media, magazines like Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha give a graphic twist to stories of their own with animal characters. These included Kalia the Crow and Shikari Shambu. Furthermore, a western understanding of wildlife in India came from the popularity of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling’s books and consequent films. Characters in this collection go by Hindi names of animals – Balu the bear, Sher Khan the tiger, Bagheera the black panther and so on.
Number of wildlife sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by state
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MOSPI. (March 31, 2021). Number of wildlife sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by state [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved August 13, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/701603/india-number-of-wildlife-sanctuaries-by-state/
MOSPI. "Number of wildlife sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by state." Chart. March 31, 2021. Statista. Accessed August 13, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/701603/india-number-of-wildlife-sanctuaries-by-state/
MOSPI. (2021). Number of wildlife sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by state. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: August 13, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/701603/india-number-of-wildlife-sanctuaries-by-state/
MOSPI. "Number of Wildlife Sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by State." Statista, Statista Inc., 31 Mar 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/701603/india-number-of-wildlife-sanctuaries-by-state/
MOSPI, Number of wildlife sanctuaries in India as of March 2021, by state Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/701603/india-number-of-wildlife-sanctuaries-by-state/ (last visited August 13, 2022)