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There is a magic to India that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The grandeur of the Taj Mahal, the rich, fragrant, flavourful food, the colourful celebrations, and an exotic, mysterious range of wildlife. Wildlife tours in India generally combine an immersion into the vibrant culture, and leave travelers forever changed.
India is the second most populated country in the world, and amongst the chaos of everyday life, lives a kind and generous people. People that are so proud of their country and their culture and are eager to share this with travelers from all over the world. Wildlife and animals in general are widely cherished in India. This is seen by a whopping near 30% of citizens over the age of 15 being vegetarian. If you’re looking for a wildlife tour, look no further than India.
The endangered Asiatic lion is found in the Gujarat state of India. It is estimated that there are less than 650 Asiatic lions remaining in the wild. Genetically speaking, the Asiatic lion is more closely related to the Northern and Western African lions, and less connected to the Eastern and Southern lions of Africa. They differ slightly in their look, though it may be difficult to see the difference unless you are looking closely.
Best places to visit to see Asiatic Lions:
The Asiatic lion is generally found deep in the Gir National Park in India’s state of Gujarat. They are very difficult to spot, and due to their endangered status, the number remaining in the wild is very few.
With fewer than 2500 remaining members in the wild, the Bengal tiger is considered endangered on the IUCN Red list. These powerful large cats are facing threats to their numbers largely due to the ever-growing population which results in habitat loss. Other factors including illegal poaching are also responsible for the declining population of tigers.
Best places to see Bengal tigers:
It may be difficult to find a Bengal tiger in the wild, however, the government of India has set up 8 tiger reserves in order to conserve and grow the tiger population.
Consider a wildlife tour that visits Kanha National Park, a destination set up by Project Tiger which supports the efforts to conserve tigers in India.
Snow leopards remain some of the least understood large cats in the wild. Their enormous, spread-out territories, solitude, and ability to avoid being seen make it extremely difficult to study and understand how to best preserve their numbers. Snow leopards are considered a vulnerable species, with an estimated 200-600 remaining in India, and less than 9000 worldwide. They are considered “Ghosts of the Mountain” due largely to their mysteriousness.
Best places to visit to see snow leopards:
The highest density of snow leopards in India is found in the Hemis National Park. The high altitude park is also home to a number of endangered species, but is the best place to travel to have a chance to spot these extremely secretive cats.
Another endangered species, the lion-tailed macaque is recognized by its silver-white mane and black tuft at the end of their tails which emulates a lion’s tail. They are tree-living monkeys and enjoy the canopy of the rainforest and evergreen forests. The lion-tailed macaque keeps a diet of fruit, seeds, insects, small vertebrates, buds, and more.
Best places to visit to see lion-tailed macaques:
Because their population lies at less than 3500 in the wild, it may be difficult to spot this unique monkey. They are primarily found in the Western Ghats of India, as well as numerous sanctuaries throughout the country.
The largest living mammal in Asia, the Asian elephant is found throughout India and southeast Asia. They are considered endangered due to a drastic decline over the last 3 generations by an estimated fifty percent. They are primarily threatened by habitat loss, illegal poaching, fragmentation, and habitat degradation. Elephants are often affected deeply by the tourism industry, however, as tour companies change their operations, visits to sanctuaries are replacing elephant rides.
Best places in India to see elephants:
The most popular places to see elephants in India are in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Kanha National Park, and Jaipur. You can visit sanctuaries that are working towards conservation of these endangered elephants.
Consider an ethical tour of India with Encounters Travel. This exciting tour offers a wonderful wildlife portion to the trip and is a very affordable option!
The Nilgiri tahr, also known as the ibex, is a species endemic to India. While they slightly resemble deer or goats, they are most closely related to the sheep. They also belong to India’s endangered species list and are estimated to have less than 3200 left in the wild.
Where to visit to see Nilgiri tahrs:
The Nilgiri tahr is found in India’s Western Ghats region. They are most populated in mountain grasslands around 1200 – 2600 metres.
Indian Sloth Bear
The Indian Sloth Bear is a medium-sized bear that is compared to the brown or black bear. They are a vulnerable species, and are facing declining numbers due to habitat loss, human intervention and hunting, and more. The sloth bear is known to have been tamed and used for entertainment.
Where to visit to see Indian sloth bears:
These bears are found primarily in forest cover, including at the low hills of the outer Himalayas. They are the widest spread bear in India, and are often found in protected areas.