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Flora and fauna

General Info
 ·  Flora
    ·  Tropical Forests
    ·  Temperate Forests
    ·  Sub-alpine forests
    ·  Alpine scrubs

 ·  Fauna
    ·  Mammals
    ·  Birds

Why are these animals endangered?

How much money do the poachers make?

Protected Areas
 ·  Nepal
    ·  Royal Chitwan National Park
    ·  Royal Bardiya National Park
    ·  Mt. Everest National Park
    ·  Langtang National Park
    ·  Rara National Park
    ·  Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area
    ·  Shey Phoksundo National Park
    ·  Khaptad National Park
    ·  Koshi Tapu Wildlife Reserve
    ·  Parsa Wildlife Reserve
    ·  Royal Sukla Phant Wildlife Reserve
    ·  Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
    ·  Annapurna Area Conservation Project
        Corbett National Park
    ·  Nanda Devi Sanctuary
      ·  Nanda Devi
      ·  Inner Sanctuary
      ·  Outer Sanctuary
      ·  Present day Scenario
    ·  Kangchendzonga National Park
    ·  Valley of Flowers
    ·  Hemis National Park
    ·  Pin Valley National Park

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Flora and Fauna

National Parks of India
India has been very well aware of the animal conservation problem ever since the 1970s when India's first National Park was built. Since then, a large number of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Bio Reserves have been established in all parts of India, including the Indian Himalayas. Here is a brief look at some of these projects.

Tigers at the Corbett National Park, India. Credit: Karamjeet Singh
Tigers at the Corbett National Park, India
Credit: Karamjeet Singh

Corbett National Park
The Kumaon Himalayas of India is famous for its tigers, which have been known to roam about its lower districts. For centuries, the delicate natural balance was maintained. However, the increase in human and cattle population in the beginning of the 20th century led to the disturbance of this balance, and the first man-eaters started appearing. Soon the numbers of these man-eaters increased and Kumaon became famous. The hunter Jim Corbett became famous with his leopard shooting exploits in this region. In "Temple Tiger", he describes how he killed the Champawat tiger and the Panar leopard, which had hunted 836 human beings in the first decade of this century. However from 1930s onwards, the number of tigers fell sharply with the increase in the number of hunters, both Indian princes and sportsmen of the British Raj.

Panthera Tigris. Credit: Karamjeet Singh
Panthera Tigris
Credit: Karamjeet Singh

The situation deteriorated rapidly and in 1971, the Indian government banned the killing of tigers. Project Tiger was started and the Jim Corbett National Park was formed - the name honoring the famous hunter of the past. Although some argue that the park and the Project have proved to be a wonderfully successful program to save the tigers of India, the fact remains that the project has not been free from controversies. Official figures put the the number of tigers to be close to 5000. However experts on the topic and independent sources say that the actual figure may be closer to 3000 than 5000. There is a rising demand for tiger related goods. Tiger skins and bones are in heavy demand. Poachers and smugglers have established a clever route by which tigers surface in the form of medicines and balms in Chinese markets as Chinese "medicine". Not a year goes by without stories of seizures of bones and skins by the customs officials. But these seizures are only the tip of the iceberg and the poaching still continues.

The Corbett National Park is located in a large Doon valley, on the lower slopes of the lesser Himalaya. It contains and protects a large variety of wildlife other than tigers. A dense vegetation cover of Sal forests and tall grasses feature in the this park. It is home to a number of species ranging from the Asiatic elephant (elephas maximus) to the Ganges Ghariyal (garialis gangeticus) , a species of crocodile with long thin snouts. Wild boars, different species of deer and monkeys are some of the diverse wildlife that can be found in the Park.

The story of the Asian elephant is a genuine success story from the animal conservationist's viewpoint. This animal once roamed the Asian continent from Syria to northern China. However, the numbers dwindled from millions at the turn of the century to an estimated 55,000 in the wild, in isolated regions. India itself is home to about 20,000 elephants in the wild, with about 200 breeding in captivity. India accounts for 35% of Asia's elephants.

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