India is a land with a variety of landscapes making it one of the most diverse countries. The government has recognized some areas as Biodiversity Hotspots means areas that have extremely rich and diverse flora and fauna and are under threat of getting endangered. As per the official reports, four out of the 36 Biodiversity Hotspots in the world are present in India. The hotspots are present in the regions of the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region, and the Sundaland. Additionally, the Sundarbans and the Terrai-Duar Savannah grasslands are also added to the list for their unique foliage and animal species.
Towards the northern Himalayas, you will not only experience the change in climate but also witness a continuously changing panorama. There are broad-leaved trees giving way to evergreen forests of oak and conifers to alpine meadows at much higher elevations where trees can’t grow because of the harsh climate and only ground-hugging plants thrive.
Along with the plants, innumerable animal species are also found here. The plumage shades of blue, black, crimson, and brown speckled with white would make anyone fall in love with this place. You can witness the male showing off during courtship by erecting two blue horn-like feathers and inflating its purple throat. If you travel further, amongst the snowy peaks, you can find the solitary snow leopard whose favorite prey is the bharal and ibex.
2. Indo-Burma region
The Indo-Burma region is one of the largest hotspots that cover Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos PDR and also includes the Gangetic plains, areas around the Brahmaputra river, and parts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
This hotspot is made of plains that are fed with rich alluvial soil by several large Asian rivers besides the Ganga and Brahmaputra. Although it is one of the most biologically rich areas, it is also the most endangered. Many exotic species are found here like the Annamite muntjac and grey-crowned crocias, etc are rarely found anywhere. There are some threats such as illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss and this region is in need of stringent legal protection.
3. Terrai-duar Savannah
Terrai-duar Savannah region is home to the world’s tallest and rarest grasslands which forms a narrow stretch at the base of the Himalayas (a continuation of the Indo-Gangetic plain in India, Nepal, and Bhutan). These grasslands are fed with rich silt deposits by the monsoon floods every year. Some of the most endangered species like one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephants, and sloth bears, among other animals, are found here.
4. Western Ghats
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared the Western Ghats (run from north to south just beyond the west coast of India) as a World Heritage Site. The tropical rain forests on the slopes of mountains shelter a variety of animals like tigers, black panthers, and leopards.
Endangered species like arboreal and shy lion-tailed macaques live here. The wildlife in the western ghats is in danger as the man’s activities are causing their forests to shrink
One can spot the weird pig-nosed purple frog in these forests during the monsoon. Naturalists are still discovering new species of frogs, caecilians, and spiders here. But, sadly, many species are also disappearing at the same time due to man’s activities.
5. Western Ghats
The Sunderbans is a set of 104 islands formed by the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta, comprising the largest mangrove forest in the world. Sunderbans is recognized as a World Heritage Site where one can find the Royal Bengal tigers swimming in the creeks, the Gangetic dolphins playing in the rivulets, and the estuarine crocodiles basking on the river banks, etc. In addition, there are innumerable species of birds, mammals, and fish here. The species here are under threat because of the rising sea owing to global warming, deforestation, etc.
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