Wild Cats In India | Wildlife Beauty Of India |
Of the 41 known wild cat species in the world, 15 are found in India—from the smallest Rusty-spotted Cat to the largest Tiger, with several other fascinating varieties in between. India, with 103 National Parks and 543 wildlife sanctuaries spread across a terrific range of habitats, is home to five of the seven Big Cats, making it a favourite destination for sightings for wildlife enthusiasts from around the world.
1# The Jungle Cat
The Jungle Cat is the most common wild cat species, found in India and most other parts of Asia. In ancient Egypt, they were mummified and placed in tombs. Primarily active during the day, Jungle Cats feed on rodents, hares, birds, reptiles etc. Being strong swimmers, they also dive to catch fish. They can be found practically all over the Indian peninsula, from the Himalaya to Kanyakumari, most commonly in grasslands, scrub jungles and banks of rivers.
2# Fishing Cat
The endangered Fishing Cat is found in the wetlands of the Sunderban mangroves, the Ganga and Brahmaputra valleys and the Western Ghats. As the name suggests, they dive and swim frequently to catch fish. They can be sighted at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary and outside protected areas in West Bengal.
Once trained for bird hunting in India and Iran, the Caracal is today a rare species in India. They are nocturnal, highly secretive and prey upon small mammals, birds and rodents. Caracals are found in tropical dry deciduous, thorn and shrub forests of Central and Western India.
4# Snow Leopard
The endangered, reclusive and strikingly beautiful Snow Leopard is found in the Himalaya. Solitary and active at dawn and dusk, they can kill animals two to four times their weight. Hemis National Park and the Great Himalayan National Park are good places to spot them.
5# Clouded Leopards
Clouded Leopards are restricted to the eastern Himalayan foothills of northeast India. They’re the most talented climbers, and hence, the most elusive. They live a solitary lifestyle, resting in trees during the day and hunting at night. The Clouded Leopard National Park of Tripura is India’s first wildlife park dedicated to this cat.
6# The Indian Leopard
The Indian Leopard are sympatric carnivores, sharing their habitat with other predators. Solitary, elusive and largely nocturnal, they drag their kills up trees, are powerful swimmers and very agile.
7# Asiatic Lion
The endangered and fierce Asiatic Lion was once found all the way till West Bengal, where they coexisted with the Bengal tiger. Now they live as a single population in and around Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat. They are found in prides, with two to five adult females and their cubs; the males only associate for mating or when on a large kill.
8# The Indian Desert Cat
The Indian Desert Cat, also known as the Asiatic wildcat, inhabits the Thar Desert in Rajasthan where they hunt during the day for desert gerbils, rats, hares and birds; they are also known to kill cobras and vipers.
9# The Rusty-Spotted Cat
The Rusty-spotted Cat is the smallest wild cat species—they’re half the size of domestic cats— and are found only in India and Sri Lanka. Listed as Near Threatened, they occur in deciduous forests and scrub and grasslands, feeding on rodents and birds at night. The Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh is a good place to sight these cats.
10# Bengal Tiger
The majestic Bengal tiger though endangered is also perhaps the most glamorous, with 15 protected reserves operating under the conservation efforts of Project Tiger. They’re found in six landscape complexes, including the Shivalik-Gangetic floodplain, the Central Indian highlands, the Eastern and Western Ghats, the Brahmaputra floodplains and the Sunderban mangrove forest. Tigers prefer hunting large ungulates, such as chital or sambar. Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore are two of the best reserves to spot this big cat.
Let’s wrap up Wild Cats In India | Wildlife Beauty Of India | article. Read also Nature and Wildlife Beauty of Madhya Pradesh, India
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— Sunil Nain