Various types of wild animals are found in the forests of India. Since primitive days the wild animals have close relationship with the mankind. The major wild animals of India are elephant, tiger, lion, rhino, bear etc. They live in the dense forests.
The Sundarban of West Bengal is the home of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Similarly lions live in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, and rhinoceroses live in the dense, marshy and moist forests of Assam, north Bengal and Tripura. Elephants and tigers live in the forests of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka and in the foot Himalayas and Chhotnagpur plateaus.
Besides, panthers, wolves, bears, deer. Antelopes, bisons etc. live in almost all forests of India. Ibex types of wild goats with long furs are found in Kashmir. Musk-deer and yaks are found in the Himalayan region in the borders of India and Nepal. Neel-gay is seen in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In our forests different kinds of venomous snakes like python, cobra etc. are also found. In almost all our forests live monkeys, hares, jackaks, foxes etc.
Varieties of birds are seen in our forests, the most important of which are the peacock, cuckoo, myna, horn-bill (kochila khai), kite, vulture, hawk etc. Swans, ducks, crows, golden oriole, cranes, doves etc. are found almost everywhere. Tiger is our national animal and peacock, the national bird. The number of wild animals is gradually diminishing as our forests are diminishing.
Preservation of Wildlife:
The Government of India have forbidden hunting of birds and animals and declared it punishable under law as the number of many kinds of wildlife diminishes beyond expectation. Many plans are being executed for preservation of wildlife.
There are at present 20 national parks and 190 wildlife sanctuaries in different States of India for preservation of wildlife. In 1972 the Indian Wildlife Board launched a national scheme called the “Project Tiger” to protect the tiger population.
This tiger project ensures complete protection to the tiger species in seven specially selected reserves at Manas (Assam), Palamau (Bihar), Similipal (Orissa), the Corbett National Park (U.P.), Melghat (Maharashtra), Manipur (Karnataka) and Sundarbans (West Bengal). The other vanishing species like the rhinoceros and the lion are preserved in the Kaziranga National Park of Assam and the Girl Forests of Gujarat respectively.
In Orissa the Candace Forests near Bhubaneswar have been declared as Elephant Reserve and Chalice Lake as the Bird Sanctuary. There are crocodile sanctuaries at Satkosia of Tikarpada and Bhitar Kanika (Cuttack District) now Kendrapara District.