• Shashwat Garg

3 or more ways you can protect the threatened animals of India

Updated: Oct 19, 2021


India is a country of diversity, this diversity is not only in conversation when we talk about religion, or communities, or terrains, or temperatures but also expands to our flora and fauna. India alone hosts about 7-8% of all species recorded on earth, translating that into numbers: 45,000 species of plants + 91,000 species of animals. If you find that impressive, thanks to the


multiple climates and terrain types in India, it has 4 major biodiversity hotspots out of 34 global hotspots. However, over the past few years, the numbers of many of these animal species populations have started reducing, owing to various reasons right from climate change to human activities like encroaching and poaching. and have thus become endangered. At Khakhed, we remind you with each article that, normies like you and I have the power to change the fate of this world, the fate of the animals, we need to believe in ourselves. So we made this article, to inform you on how you as an individual can protect

our endangered animals, this National Threatened Species Day. And remember, Khakhed has always got your backs because we know you got this.


We will be talking about 5 endangered animal species in India and what can you and I do to protect them and stop their extinction. Are you ready to start a crusade?

The 5 endangered species we choose from India are:


  1. Asiatic Lion

  2. Nilgiri Tahr

  3. Bengal Tiger

  4. Snow Leopard

  5. One-Horned Rhinoceros


Asiatic Lion- Endangered

The Asiatic Lion is one of the mightiest species of lions in the world. Historically they roamed the entire middle east from Greece to Bangladesh, however, in the early 1900s they were hunted into extinction. By the end of this large-scale massacre, there were only 20 Asiatic lions left in Western India. The entire population of the species can now only be found in India and is now restricted to Gir National Park and environs in Gujarat. The IUCN Red List has declared the animal endangered because of the constant decrease of its population since 2010. The total number of Asiatic Lions left in the country is now just 650.


A lot of efforts by conservationists have been taken in order to stop the Asiatic lions from going extinct. During the 1960s and 1970s, Gir forest was converted into a national park and sanctuary for these lion species. However, for the past 25 years, conservationists have been trying to develop Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Madhya Pradesh, into a natural habitat for the Asiatic lions. There has been a lot of controversy about why the shift hasn't happened yet, but we sincerely hope that the reintroduction program for Asiatic Lions in Madhya Pradesh would happen before they go extinct for Gir. The excess population of Gir will be relocated here. We can’t have all our lions in one forest now, can we? (Did you see what I did there)


What can you do to protect these majestic lions:

  • You can always keep an eye on change.org in the animal section. There are some petitions that keep coming up. Signing petitions will help the policymakers understand the need for change.

Some ongoing petitions for Asiatic lions are:

  1. Save Asiatic Lions- this petition is started in order to pressurize the forest department into taking the necessary steps to protect and test Asiatic Lions against the diseases that have killed them in the past.

  2. Relocate and Save the Asiatic Lions from extinction- this petition correctly points out that we have lost a significant number of Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest between 2016 to 2020 due to open wells and mysterious diseases. Since January 2020, we lost 92 Asiatic Lions in the first 5 months, out of which 60 were only between the months of May and April 2020. In 2021, the news announced that Covid 19 was also affecting Asiatic Lions. Now that all our Asiatic lions are in one area- Gir forest, the outbreak of a contagious virus is all that it needs to lead them to extinction. The petition is trying to bring the Supreme Courts’ order of 2013 to shift the Lions to Kuno- Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to life.

  • Starting a conversation is extremely important in order to save any animal. Each animal due to their size and habits are associated with myths, bursting such myths is highly important so that people would fear less and come in aid when needed.

  • If you are someone who loves adventure and wildlife and possible knowledge of risk (although I really don't think there are any), you can apply to some of the wildlife volunteer programs that are run around the year by various NGOs. It can be a good way to unplug and learn new things. Although currently there are no volunteer programs for Asiatic lions, you can always look at the others here.

  • If you are someone who doesn't like to get dirty or deal with animals directly, if your love for them is more like The Berlin Wall love then always donate to different research and conservation teams to help them protect the lions, scientifically study them and find alternative solutions. Some of them are WWF-India, ZSL that has been working with Gir Officials for over 10 years now, and the likes.


Nilgiri Tahr- Endangered

The Nilgiri Tahr also referred to as the “pride of Western Ghats”, is an endangered ungulate (ungulates are mammals with large hooves) mountain goat species, which is also found in some areas of Kerala. I am not going to kid, they look a little demonic, just a little bit. Anyway, these species are not just the “Pride of Western ghats” but also known as “The Mountain Monarch of Anamalai” and “The Pride of Munnar”, I am curious to meet the person who gave it such original titles.

There are 12 species of Tahrs that can be found in India. Nilgiri Tahrs are endangered due to continuous poaching and the lack of natural habitats for them. They are the state animal of Tamil Nadu. India identified the Nilgiri Tahrs as endangered in 1972 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India. They have been able to make a significant comeback in 2015 with 3,122 individuals. From what can be gathered from different reports Nilgiri Tahrs face 2 major threats and both are human threats: They are losing their habitat due to deforestation and hydroelectric projects and monoculture plantations in Anamalai Tiger Reserve. And secondly, are victims of occasional hunting for meat and skin. There are around 2500 Nilgiri Tahrs left in the world now and taking an action to save these demonic-looking, sweet-toothin’ mountain goats has become more and more urgent.

Is there something we can do to protect them? Yes, we can, here is what:

  1. Since we know, Tahrs are hunted and poached, one of the main things we can do is discourage such behavior. Do not buy products or showpieces that have anything to do with Tahrs. Secondly, immediately report such incidents to the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

  2. There are no active petitions that are aimed at Tahrs, you can always start one on Change.org addressing it to the PMO and the government of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. And if you do, don’t forget to send it to us on our instagram or our email: khakhed@gmail.com . We would love to be the first ones to sign it.

  3. Know where you are investing your money. If you are traveling to Kerala or Tamil Nadu for a vacation, look for resorts that are in collaboration with the National Parks and donate some amount of money to its maintenance.

  4. As voters, our biggest power lies in knowledge. Knowing our representatives and policymakers and electing the right ones. Vote those electives who not only show promise but real knowledge of what is happening to our world and our climate.


Bengal Tiger- Endangered

The National Animal and the pride of our country- The Royal Bengal Tiger, is it sad that even these Big Cats are on the threatened species list? There are about 9 subspecies of Tigers out of three that are now extinct and from our remaining species: one bordering Near Extinction and Critically Endangered, three critically endangered, and two Endangered. Are we proud yet? I hope not.

The Bengal Tiger has 70 percent of its overall population living in India. Due to the rigorous poaching instances in India, the species were declared to be endangered in the past few years. Corbett National Park has a large number of Bengal Tigers currently, though the overall number of these tigers in India is down to around 2000.


Royal Bengal Tigers sadly have been the victim of a lot of misinformation, myths, and villainous characteristics in tribal stories. Maybe that may have led to the fear they garnered for centuries.


There are ways in which we can protect them. Most of them would be a repeat of what we have been already saying and some might be new.

  • Misinformation about man-eating tigers and tiger attacks is a very evident thing in India. However, there are some regions that do have issues like tigers carrying away cattle. Therefore, one of the main ways of helping tigers would include dispersing misinformation. Educating yourself and others on tigers and debunking myths associated with them.

  • Another way would be supporting conservation efforts like fundraising and donating to various conservation funds and efforts all over the nation. However beware of the fake fundraisers or donations but looking into the history of the organization, their mission manifests as well as the platform that they are using for fundraising. Some of the trusted platforms include Globalgiving, and Keto.

Some fundraisers that you can look into are:

On the same lines, you can also sign petitions on Change.org or create your own addressing the PM's Office. You can also share existing petitions to gather more attention. Sharing something will never cost you, it’s just one small step in the right direction.

  • Being a responsible tourist and not polluting the habitats such as sanctuaries and national parks, reducing pressure on natural resources.

  • Most importantly by preventing wildlife trade, not only highly discouraging it but actively reporting it.


Snow Leopard- Vulnerable

Snow leopards have been bestowed with two titles, “The ghosts of the mountains” owing to their elusive nature and ability to live in solitary conditions. To the point that there is no term for a group of snow leopards because they never travel or live in a pack. The other title bestowed upon them is “The king of mountains” this is due to the fact that they are the sole apex predators to live on the altitude that they do, well of course not including the poachers and hunters. Today, Snow leopards are found in 12 countries, including India. However, they have had a sharp decline in population and are now listed in IUCN’s list as “Vulnerable”, with a total population of 4000 individuals in the world.

So what is killing these magnificent animals? Unfortunately, the list is long. It includes everything right from habitat loss to poachers and hunters to Climate change and retaliation in human-animal conflicts. In fact, according to the WWF, climate change might be the biggest factor. If not managed faster, climate change may destroy about 30% of their habitat in the Himalayas alone. Climate change has already affected the number of snow leopards in India, which is currently 500. These cats can now be spotted only in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the western and eastern parts of the Himalayas.

A very interesting thing about the importance of snow leopards is that they are the indicators of health in a high-altitude region. If they are able to survive, it means the other animals would too and so would the ecology of the place.

Snow Leopards are like in snow-capped areas so here are some things that we can do in our daily lives to prevent snow leopards from going extinct. These are:

  1. Be a responsible tourist and don’t leave litter behind when you travel to the Himalayas. Plastic bottles, packaging wrappers can cause a major imbalance and havoc to the ecosystem and the wildlife that is a part of that ecosystem.

  2. Don’t buy snow leopard-related products because the snow leopards are poached for their extremely beautiful fur. They are also killed for their bones and meat. If you see someone indulging in this trade, report them to the concerned authorities.

  3. Spread the word debunking myths and helping distinguish traditional folktales and actual scientific facts.

  4. Under a WWF initiative, you can also adopt a snow leopard and make yourself a partner in conservation. To know more about it click here.

  5. You can also apply to be a volunteer with The Snow Leopard Trust and learn more about them in close proximity.

  6. If you are traveling to the Himalayas, stay at the himalayan homestays in Ladakh as they are trained on how to be eco-friendly and respectful of nature- in fact, they were also awarded Travel+Leisure's Global Vision Award and the World Travel Market First Choice Responsible Tourism Award in 2005.

  7. There are no active petitions that are aimed at Snow Leopards, you can always start one on Change.org addressing it to the PMO. And if you do, don’t forget to send it to us on our instagram or our email: khakhed@gmail.com . We would love to be the first ones to sign it.


One-Horned Rhinoceros- Vulnerable

The One-Horned Rhino is also called the Indian rhinoceros and is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. I have to agree, the rhinos did not have a glowing past, they were almost hunted to the brim of extinction by the early 20th Century with only 200 individuals left. However, on the bright side today there are 3,400 individuals in India and Nepal combined. 67% of this population lives in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The governments of both countries have been very proactive about the situation and in 2005 they launched the first of its kind operation- IRV, Indian Rhino Vision 2020. Under this program, they introduced rhinos to the Manas National Park and in 2018, it had 36 Rhinos- which was seen as a resounding success. In 2019 our government has also implemented the National Conservation Strategy for Rhinos. So why is it that, even after all this effort, Rhinos are vulnerable to extinction? The problem here is the poachers. They are usually poached for their horns, which allegedly have medicinal properties.

When the government and NGOs have failed to make any headway with the conservation of Rhinos, can we do something? As always, we at Khakhed say, yes we can!

  1. The main killer of Rhinos is the horn. Actively discourage and report anyone selling or in possession of jewelry, showpieces, kitchenware, etc made of Rhino horns or Elephants tusks for that matter.

  2. Start conversations with people and debunk myths like rhino horns possessing any medical qualities. Rhino horns are made of the same material as that of our nails.

  3. Most importantly keep donating your time or money to organizations that are trying to make a difference.


We have one small challenge for all our readers. We have a word search below. Tell us how many endangered animals of India can you find. Leave their names in the comments below!


Stay tuned to read about more interesting wildlife things! If you are someone who enjoys podcasts we would recommend listening to the second season of The Wilderness Live Podcasts that are hosted by Aditi Rose Saksena and Aashutosh Ingle!

 

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