Here is a list of thirty-one mammalian wildlife representatives of India.
1. The Majestic Elephants (Elephas Maximus):
It is the largest terrestrial mammal and is confined to the Terai and foot-hills because of its dependence on succulent grass, bamboo and plenty of water. It is gregarious and its herds move constantly in search of new feeding grounds; it cannot tolerate high temperature.
It is an intelligent animal and can be domesticated easily. Its lifespan is about 70 years. Its population is hunted out for tusk and, therefore, its number is decreasing slowly.
2. The Great One-Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros Unicornis):
It is found in the grasslands and jungle areas of the foot hills of the Himalayas and also in the plains of West Bengal and Assam. It prefers swamps and open savannah, covered with tall elephant grass.
It has a single horn near the tip of its snout; the horn is made of keratinized skin and matted hair and it is said to have aphrodisiac and other medicinal values. It is, therefore, hunted for this purpose and is at the verge of extinction.
3. The Sloth Bear (Melursus Ursinus):
It is a stout carnivore which is found in the hilly forests like Mount Abu and Erinpura ranges. It lives mostly on fruits, honey and insects, it sucks up white ants from their hills which are broken by its claws with great speed.
It is rapidly vanishing due to ruthless hunting and it needs conservation. Brown Bears (Ursus arctus) are found on mountains up-to 3,000 metres height and Black Bears (Selenarctos tibetanus) at 1500-3000 metres height.
4. The Lion (Panthera Leo):
It is a rare mammal and was found in Thar desert, in arid plains of Sind, Rajasthan and Punjab but now it is restricted to Gir forest of Gujarat. It is somewhat nocturnal and referred to as the King of Animals. Male possesses mane which is not found in female. This animal is said to possess enormous strength. The lion is the emblem of the Government of India. Its extermination is well known.
5. Indian Panther (Panthera Paradus Fusca):
It is smaller than tiger and is spotted. It can live in all types of forests. Once it was found all over India but now its number has been drastically reduced. Now, it is under protection in Mount Abu sanctuary. It is commonly called the Leopard.
The snow leopard (Panthera unica) is found in the high Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim near snow line. It has a creamy grey coat with large black rings. The leopards, especially the snow leopards are greatly hunted for their fur. It is an endangered species.
6. The Indian Tiger (Panthera Tigris):
It is gracious carnivore and distributed in Uttar Pradesh from the Himalayas to the Vindhya forests in the South. It lives in a variety of habitats, from thorn forests to the dense terai forests. It is carnivorous and nocturnal.
Its number, once estimated to be nearly 25,000 in 1948, has gone considerably down nearly 1540 in 1970. Realizing this fact Government of India has launched a project commonly called Project Tiger to save the tigers from extinction. This project was launched in 1972; due to this effort the population of tiger has improved considerably.
The White Tiger is a mutant variety of Tiger which was first noticed in the forests of Gidhaur in Monghyr District of Bihar State.
7. The Cheetah (Acinonyx Jubatus):
It was found in Central India, Deccan region and in Thar desert up-to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Now the Cheetah, one of the most beautiful, agile and fastest animals, is regarded to be extinct from India.
8. The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa):
It is found in the evergreen forests of Assam. It is black in colour and lives on trees, i.e., arboreal in habit. It feeds on birds and small animals.
9. Striped Hyaena (Hyaena Striata):
It is found generally roaming near jungles throughout our country. It is terrestrial and carnivorous; it feeds on goat, sheep, etc.
10. Wolf (Canis Lupus):
It is found in the plains throughout our country. It preys on goat, sheep and deer.
11. Wild Ass (Equus Hemionus Khur):
It had a fairly wide distribution in the dry regions of North-West India (Jaisalmer and Bikaner), but its distribution has become restricted to the southern part of the Thar desert. Its number is estimated to be nearly 870. Its population is severely reduced due to hunting, catching for breeding mules and surra disease, etc. Since, it is the only true wild ass of the world, hence, it needs protection and conservation.
12. Wild Boar (Sus Cristatus):
The wild boar or pig has a long mobile snout with terminal nostrils. The canines of both jaws grow continuously and form long triangular and up curved tusks for defence and digging roots; the tusks are better developed in males. It is omnivorous, it feeds on carrion, snakes, insects, roots, tubers and cultivated crops. It is gregarious living in families in grass or bush of marshy places.
It is now rare animal and is mostly found in small numbers along the Aravalli ranges in the eastern part of Thar desert where it inhabits rocky slopes.
13. Wild Goat and Sheep:
These are restricted only to the Northern part of our country. The Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius) is a variety of wild sheep; the only variety found in south (in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu). It lives in groups and grazes on grasses. This species is greatly endangered due to habitat disturbance, predation by black panther, wild dogs and hunting by poachers. The Himalayan Ibex is a variety of wild goat, Capara siberica.
14. Blue Bull (Boselaphus Tragocamelus):
It lives in plains and Rajasthan deserts in groups of 4 to 10 in number. It prefers to live near cultivated lands and is also found in desert grassIands. Males have small cone-shaped curved horns. Both sexes have a short dark mane on the neck. It is hunted under Crop-Protection Act, because herds of Nilgai inflict severe damage to crops. In Thar desert it is regarded sacred like ‘cow’, so is spared from hunting.
15. Wild-Buffalo (Bus Bubalis):
It is large-sized, robust animal having streamlined body. It prefers tall grassy forests close to marshy areas in the vicinity of rivers and lakes. It was once distributed over the grass jungles and rivers in forests of Gangetic plain and in the foot-hills of Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Nepal. Its number has also decreased rapidly due to great hunting.
16. Indian Bison (Bos Gaurus):
It is related to bull and is found in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Due to various reasons, it is now confined only to Bandipur of Karnataka. Its number has also reduced down to a considerable extent.
17. Indian Gazelle (Gazella Hennetii):
It is also called Chinkara and is mostly found through-out desert region of Southern part of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It lives in herds and adapted to live in extremely arid conditions. It prefers to live in open grass-lands with thick bushes.
18. Four-Horned Antelope (Tetracerus Quadricornis):
It is also called Chausingha and has two pairs of horns. It is found in the foot-hills of Himalayas and in Bundelkhand region. It generally leads solitary life.
19. The Black Buck (Antelope Cervicapra):
It has four subspecies in India. It is a graceful and fast running animal, found in the grassy plains of India and avoids forests. Males have spirally ringed, unbranched long and permanent horns. It has been hunted out from the most parts of India and now it is confined only in certain localities in Rajasthan.
20. The Musk Deer (Moschus Moschiferus):
It is found in Himachal Pradesh, Northern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and Sikkim. It is a shy animal and lives a solitary life. Male possesses a musk gland for which it is hunted. The secretion of this gland is a valuable product used as perfume fixative, and as an important ingredient of several Aurvedic and Homeopathic drugs.
21. The Barking Deer (Cervulus Muntjac):
It is found in the foot-hills and plain. It has suborbital glands below eyes, antlers and non-protruding canines. It is diurnal and lives in pairs.
22. The Dancing Deer (Cervus Unicolor):
It is also called Sambhar. It is a rare beautiful deer, lives in herds and found in the forests all over the country. It has very long antlers. It comes out on plains only at mid-night. It is mostly hunted for its skin and its flesh is used as food by many people.
23. The Spotted Deer (Axis Axis):
It is also called Cheetal. It is beautiful deer with white spots on its brown coat. It has long slender antlers, each having three branches which shed annually. It is mostly found in the forests of Indian plains and is also reported from Assam, Punjab and Rajasthan. It is also hunted greatly for skin and meat.
24. The Hog Deer (Axis Porcinus):
It is smaller and stout in build and has hog-like appearance. It lives either solitary or in pair and prefers to live in grass patches at the borders of the forests. It is diurnal and comes out to feed only during morning and evening.
25. The Nilgiri Langur (Cercopithecus johni).
26. The Lion-tailed Monkey (Macaca silensus).
27. The Hanuman Monkey (Semnopithecus entellus).
28. The Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatto).
29. The Indian Giant Squirrel (Rotufa indica).
30. The Porcupine (Hystrix lencura).
31. The Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata).
The above mentioned list is related to mammals only. Likewise, a large number of birds, reptiles, etc., are also among wildlife of India.