Species in News - Animal Species of India (UPSC Environment and Ecology)

India is home to a vast array of species of all shapes and sizes. From the Asian Elephant to the Great Indian hornbill, the country’s biodiversity is legendary. This article will list out the animal species of India, as well as the National Parks that are inhabited by some of them.

The information from this article will be useful in the UPSC Prelims exam.

Latest Context:

Ladakh Union Territory administration recently adopted Snow Leopard and Black-necked Crane as State animal and State bird, respectively. Till 5th August 2019, black-necked crane was the state bird of Jammu & Kashmir. The black necked crane is found in eastern Ladakh’s high-altitude wetlands and marshes and these birds arrive in March for breeding and migrate by October end or early November. In total, there are about 7,500 snow leopards left in the world, out of which 500 are in India. Out of that, the population of snow leopards is between 200-300 in Ladakh alone, according to few experts. This is the rationale behind the decision of adoption of snow leopard as the state animal of Ladakh and black-necked crane as the state bird of Ladakh.

To read more about the List of Indian State Birds, check the linked article.

Species in News – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

List of Species of India in News [UPSC Prelims]

Below is the list of Animal Species in India, Latin name, and the subsequent locations within India:

Species of India in News – UPSC Notes

Species Name Latin Name Location within India/Description Conservation Status
Oriental Darter / Snakebird Anhinga melanogaster
  • Freshwater habitats of India
  • IUCN: Near Threatened
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Not Mentioned
Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa
  • Sikkim
  • West Bengal
  • Meghalaya
  • Tripura
  • Mizoram
  • Manipur
  • Assam
  • Nagaland
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Indian Flapshell Turtle Lissemys punctata
  • Indus River Basin
  • Ganges River Basin
  • Introduced to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • IUCN:Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Not Mentioned
Gharial Gavialis gangeticus
  • Ramganga River in Corbett National Park
  • Indus River
  • Ganges River
    • Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Girwa River
    • Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Gandak River
    • Valmiki Tiger Reserve
  • Chambal River
    • National Chambal Sanctuary
  • Yamuna River
  • Son River
  • Kosi River
  • Mahanadi River
  • Brahmaputra River
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Bengal Florican / Bengal Bustard Houbaropsis bengalensis
  • Terai
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Lesser Florican / Likh / Kharmore Sypheotides indicus
  • Grasslands of
    • Gujarat
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Andhra Pradesh
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea
  • Coast of Odisha
  • Coromandal Coast
  • Bay of Bengal
  • Indian Ocean
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Giant Leatherback Turtle /  Lute Turtle Dermochelys coriacea
  • Indian Ocean
    • Sri Lanka
    • Nicobar Islands
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Ooceraea Joshii Ooceraea joshii
  • Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala
Not Protected
Greater Adjutant Stork Leptoptilos dubius
  • Bihar
  • Assam
  • IUCN: Endangered
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule IV
Indian Star Tortoise Geochelone elegans
  • Dry lowlands of India
    • Gujarat
    • Karnataka
    • Punjab
    • Tamil Nadu
    • Kerala
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule IV
Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis macqueenii
  • Western India
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Not Mentioned
Euphranta Siruvani Euphranta siruvani
  • Siruvani (Western Ghats)
Not Protected
Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata
  • Throughout India except for north-eastern states
  • IUCN: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus
  • Sundarbans
  • Foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga
  • Brahmaputra river valleys
  • Western Ghats.
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Red Panda Ailurus fulgens
  • Darjeeling (West Bengal)
  • Sikkim
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • IUCN: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Caracal Caracal caracal
  • Rajasthan,
  • Gujarat
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Listed as a Critically endangered species
  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos isabellinus
  • Jammu And Kashmir
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Asiatic Lion Panthera leo leo Gir Sanctuary, Gujarat
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Lion Tailed Macaque Macaca silenus Western Ghats
  • IUCN: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus Western Ghats, Karnataka
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus The entirety of Indian Subcontinent
  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule V
Indian Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • West Bengal
  • Assam
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Nilgai (Asian Antelope) Boselaphus tragocamelus Range from foothills of the Himalayan Mountains southward to Mysore.
  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule III
Hoolock Gibbons Hylobates hoolock Arunachal Pradesh and Assam
  • IUCN: Not Mentioned
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Snow Leopard Panthera uncia
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • Sikkim
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Adopted as State Animal of Ladakh

Read more to know the List of Indian State Animals 2021, from the linked article.

  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra
  • Rajasthan
  • Gujarat
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Tamil Nadu
  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Indian Leopard Panthera pardus fusca
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Karnataka,
  • Maharashtra
  • Rajasthan
  • Uttarakhand
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Tamil Nadu
  •  Assam
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Asian Elephant Elephas maximus
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Tamil Nadu
  • IUCN: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps Dry grasslands of India but mainly found in Rajasthan
  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Himalayan Ibex Capra sibirica hemalayanus Found in the Himalayas to 5500 m
  • IUCN: Least Concerned
  • CITES: Not Mentioned
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
The Gaur Bos gaurus Western Ghats and their outflanking hills in southern India
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Great Indian Hornbill Buceros bicornis Western Ghats and in the forests along the Himalayas
  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Black Necked Crane Grus nigricollis
  • Union Territory of Ladakh adopted Black Necked Crane as a State bird
  • Found only in Ladakh’s Changthang region.
  • IUCN: Near Threatened
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus
  • The country’s last spotted cheetah died in Chhattisgarh in 1947
  • It was declared extinct in the country in 1952
  • To be re-introduced into the country at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh from Africa

Read more about re-introduction of the Cheetah in India in the linked article.

  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

Find previous years’ UPSC Prelims Environment and Ecology questions by visiting the linked article.

For more information about upcoming Government Exams, visit the linked article. More exam-related preparation materials will be found through the links given below:

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