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  • THE RED DATA BOOK-issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) located in Morges, Switzerland information for endangered mammals and birds are more extensive than for other groups of animals and plants, coverage is also given to less prominent organisms facing extinction.
  • The pink pages in this publication include the critically endangered species. Green pages are used for those species that were formerly endangered, but have now recovered to a point where they are no longer threatened. Extinct (EX) - A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)-A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range.

Shankar IAS Summary: Animal Diversity Of India - 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)

Shankar IAS Summary: Animal Diversity Of India - 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)

Shankar IAS Summary: Animal Diversity Of India - 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)

Critically Endangered (CR)- criteria for Critically Endangered.(any of one)

  • Reduction in population (> 90% over the last 10 years ),
  • Population size (number less than 50 mature individuals), quantitative analysis showing the probability of extinction in wild in at least 50% in their 10 years) and .it is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild

Endangered (EN)- criteria for Endangered. (any of one)

  • 'Reduction in population size (70% over the last 10 years), 
  • Population size estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, 
  • quantitative analysis showing the probability oi extinction in wild in at least 20% within 20 years and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild reduction in population (> 50% over the last 10 years) population size estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, Probability of extinction in wild is at least 10% within 100 years, and.
  • It is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.



  • Pygmy Hog
    (i) Is the world's smallest wild pig, with adults weighing only 8 kgs. This species constructs a nest throughout the year.
    (ii) The grasslands where the pygmy hog resides are crucial for the survival of other endangered species such as Indian Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer, Wild Buffalo, Hispid Hare, Bengal Florican and Swamp Francolin
    (iii) In 1996, a captive-breeding programme of the species was initiated in Assam, and some hogs were reintroduced in Sonai Rupai area in 2009. Habitat: Relatively undisturbed, tall ’terai grasslands.
    (iv) Distribution: Formerly, the species was more widely distributed along the southern Himalayan foothills but now is restricted to only a single remnant population in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary and its buffer reserves.
    (v) Pygmy hog-sucking Louse (Haematopinus oliveri), a parasite that feeds only on Pygmy Hogs will also fall in the same risk category of critically endangered as its survival is linked to that of the host species.
  • Andaman White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura andamanensis), Jenkin's Andaman Spiny
    (i) (Crocidura jenkinsi) and the Nicobar White- tailed Shrew (Crocidura nicobarica) Endemic to India.
    (ii) They are usually active by twilight or in the night and have specialized habitat requirements. Habitat: Leaf litter and rock crevices.
    (iii) Distribution: The Andaman White-toothed Shrew is found on Mount Harriet in the South Andaman Islands.
    (iv) The Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew is found on Wright Myo and Mount Harriet in the South Andaman Islands.
  • Kondana Rat (Millardia kondana)
    (i) It is a nocturnal burrowing rodent that is found only in India.. It is sometimes known to build nests.
    (ii) Habitat: Tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests and tropical scrub.
    (iii) Distribution: Known only from the small Sinhagarh Plateau (about one km2), near Pune in Maharashtra. Reported from an elevation of about 1,270 m above mean sea level.
  • The Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat, (Cremnomys elvira)
    (i) It is a medium sized, nocturnal and burrowing rodent. Endemic to India.
    (ii) Habitat: Tropical dry deciduous shrubland forest, seen in rocky areas. Habitat/ distribution: Known only from Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu. Recorded from an elevation of about 600 m above mean sea level.
  • The Namdapha Flying Squirrel (Biswamoyopterus biswasi)
    (i) It is a unique (the only one in its genus) flying squirrel that is restricted to a single valley in the Namdapha N.P. (or) w.LS. in Arunachal Pradesh.
    (ii) Habitat: Tropical forest.
  • The Malabar Civet (Viverra civettina) (in news)
    (i) It is, considered to be one of the world's rarest mammals. It is endemic to India and was first reported from Travancore, Kerala.
    (ii) Habitat/ distribution: Western Ghats.
  • The Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)(already extinct from India)
    (i) It is the smallest and most endangered of the five rhinoceros species.
    (ii) It is now thought to be regionally extinct in India, though it once occurred in the foothills of the Himalayas and north-east India.
  • The Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus)
    Is also believed to be extinct in India and only a small number survive in Java and Vietnam
  • Kashmir stag/ hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu)
    (i) It subspecies of Red Deer which is native to India.
    (ii) Habitat/ distribution - in dense riverine forests, high valleys, and mountains of the.
    (iii) Kashmir valley and northern Chamba in Himachal Pradesh.
    (iv) State animal of J&k


(i) The Jerdon's Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus)

  • It is a flagship species for the extremely threatened scrub jungle.
  • The species was considered to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1986 and the area of rediscovery was subsequently declared as the Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Distribution: Jerdon's Courser is endemic to Andhra Pradesh.(northen part of AP)

(ii) The Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti)

  • Had been lost for more than a century. After 113 long years, the owlet was rediscovered in 1997 and reappeared on the list of Indian birds. Habitat: Dry deciduous forest.
  • Habitat/distribution: South Madhya Pradesh, in north-west Maharashtra and north- central Maharashtra.

(iii) The White-bellied Heron (Ardea insignis)

  • Extremely rare bird found in five or six sites in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, one or two sites in Bhutan, and a few in Myanmar.
  • Habitat: Rivers with sand or gravel bars or inland lakes,

(iv) The Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis)

  • A rare bustard species that is very Well known for its mating dance. Among the tail- grasslands, secretive males advertise their territories by springing from the ground and flitting to and fro in the air.
  • Habitat: Grasslands occasionally interspersed with scrublands.
  • Distribution: Native to only 3 countries in the world Cambodia, India and Nepal. In India, it occurs in 3 states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

(v) The Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa)

  • It is presumed to be extinct since no reliable records of sightings of this species exist after 1876. Intensive surveys are required as this species is hard to detect due to its reluctance to fly and its preference for dense grass habitats. Possible sighting of this species was reported in Nainital in 2003.
  • Habitat: Tall grass and scrub on steep hillsides
  • Distribution: Western Himalayas.

(vi) Pink- headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea)

  • It has not been conclusively recorded in India since 1949. Males have a deep pink head and neck from which the bird derives its name.
  • Habitat: Overgrown still-water pools, marshes and swamps in lowland forests and tall grasslands.
  • Distribution: Recorded in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Maximum records are from north-east India.

(vii) Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious)

  • It is a winter migrant to India. This species has suffered a sudden and rapid population decline due to which it has been listed as critically endangered
  • Distribution: central Asia, Asia Minor, Russia, Egypt, India, Pakistan.
  • In India, habitat / distribution is restricted to the north and north-west of the country.

(viii) Spoon Billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhyndms pygmeus)

  • It requires highly specialized {breeding habitat, a constraint that has always kept its population scarce.
  • India is home to some of the last existing wintering grounds of this species.
  • Habitat: Coastal areas with sparse vegetation. No breeding records further inland than 7 km from the seashore.
  • Distribution: Has been recorded in West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

(ix) Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus)

  • It is a large, strikingly majestic migratory bird that breeds and winters in wetlands. They are known to winter at Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan. However the last documented
  • Sighting of the bird was in 2002.
  • Habitat: Wetland areas.
  • Located distribution: Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan.


(i) Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

  • It is the most uniquely evolved crocodilian in the world, a specialized, river-dwelling, fish- eater.
  • Habitat: clean Rivers with sand banks.
  • Distribution: Only viable population in the National Chambal Sanctuary, spread across three states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India.
  • Small non-breeding populations exist in Son, Gandak, Hoogly and Ghagra rivers.
  • Now extinct in Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

(ii) Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

  • It is a heavily exploited species. The species is migratory in nature and nesting occurs in about 70 countries across the world. Maturation is slow and is estimated between 25 40 years.
  • Habitat: Nesting occurs on insular, sandy beaches.
  • Distribution: In India they are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the coast of Tamil Nadu and Orissa.

(iii) Leatherback Turtle (Dennochelys coriacea)

  • It is the largest of the living sea turtles, weighing as much as 900 kg. Adult leatherback turtles are excellent swimmers. They swim an average of 45-65 km a day, travel, Jellyfish is their primary food.
  • The population spikes of leatherback coincide with abundance of jellyfish, making them.
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical oceans.
  • Distribution: Found in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and into Indian Oceans.

(iv) Four-toed River Terrapin or River Terrapin (Batagur baska) (a type Turtle)

  • The omnivorous diet of the river terrapin and other terrapin species makes them an essential part of the efficient clean-up systems of aquatic habitats.
  • Habitat: Freshwater rivers and lakes.
  • Distribution: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

(v) Red-crowned Roofed Turtle or the Bengal Roof Turtle (Batagur kachuga)

  • Mainly restricted to the Ganga basin. Males have a bright red coloration during the breeding season.
  • Habitat: Deep, flowing rivers but with terrestrial nest sites.
  • Distribution: Found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In India it reside basically in the watershed of the Ganga.

(vi) Sispara day gecko (Cnemaspis sisparensis)

  • It is a large gecko which dwells usually in forests, it is largely insectivorous nocturnal.
  • Habitat distribution: Endemic to Western Ghats, and found in Sispara, Nilgiris, Kavalai near Cochin.


(i) The Pondicherry Shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon).

  • It is a marine fish that occurs or occurred inshore on continental and insular shelves. This is a very rare and little-known species.
  • Habitat / distribution: Indian Ocean- from Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and possibly Sri Lanka.
  • In scattered localities spanning India to New Guinea. Also been recorded at the mouth of the Hooghly river.

(ii) The Ganges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus)

  • It is a uniquely adapted fish-eating shark that occurs in the turbid waters of the Ganga river and the Bay of Bengal. The small eyes suggest that it is adapted to living in turbid water, while the slender teeth of the species suggests that it is primarily a fish-eater.
  • Habitat/ distribution: It occurs in India and possibly in Pakistan. The Ganga river system and Hooghly river mouth are its known habitats.

(iii) The Knife-tooth Sawfish (Anoxypristis cuspidata)

  • It has a long narrow snout with blade-like teeth and a shark-like body. It spends most of its time near the bottom of the sea, It is found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries.
  • Habitat/ distribution: Widespread in western part of the Indo-Pacific region, including Red Sea.

(iv) Large-tooth Sawfish (Pristis micro don).

  • They are heavy-bodied sawfish with a short but massive saw, and grow up to 3 m. in length.
  • It is seen seasonally and very occasionally caught along with the Bull Sharks and the Green Sawfish.
  • Habitat/ distribution and habitat: Western part of the Indo-Pacific (East Africa to New Guinea, Philippines and .Vietnam to Australia).
  • In India, it is known to enter the Mahanadi river, up to 64 km inland, and also is very common in the estuaries of the Ganga and Brahmaputra.

(v) Long-comb Sawfish or Narrow-snout Sawfish (Pristis zij sron)

  • It grow up to 4.3m in length and are heavily exploited by, humans.
  • This species was reported as frequently found in shallow wate r. It inhabits muddy bottoms and also enters estuaries. Its presence has been recorded in inshore marine waters, and it goes down to depths of at least 40 m.
  • Habitat/distribution and habitat: Indo-Pacific region including Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia



(i) Wild ass/ khur (Equus hemionus khur)

  • Once extended from western India, southern Pakistan, Afghanistan, and south- eastern Iran, Today, its last refuge lies in the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch.
  • Threat-Diseases- in 1958-1960, surra disease, caused by Trypanosoma evansi and transmitted by flies,

(ii) Dhole/ Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog (Cuon alpinus)

(iii) Eld’s deer/ thamin or brow-antlered deer (Panolia eldii)

  • deer indigenous to Southeast Asia
  • Found in the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Manipur.

(iv) Himalayan Brown/ red Bear i Ursus arctos isabellinus).

  • India's largest animals in the Himalayas, omnivores. Himalayan Brown Bears exhibit sexual dimorphism.
  • Distribution - Nepal, Pakistan, and Northern India.

(v) Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)

  • Primate, is an Old World monkey
  • Distribution - small region of western Assam and in the neighboring foothills of the Black Mountains of Bhutan.

(vi) Himalayan wolf

  • Habitat/ distribution - trans-Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir in northern India.

(vii) Himalayan / White-bellied Musk Deer

  • Habitat/distribution - Kashmir, Kumaon and Sikkim.
  • Musk deer lack antlers, but they possess a pair of enlarged canines that grow continuously.
  • Deer musk is a substance with a persistent odor obtained from a gland of the male musk deer (Only males produce the musk),
  • The substance has been used as a perfume fixative, incense material, and medicine

(viii) Hispid hare/ Assam rabbit (Caprolagus hispidus)

  • Habitat/ distribution -southern foothills of the central Himalayas. Status endangered.
  • The habitat of hispid hares is highly fragmented due to increasing agriculture, flood control, and human development.

(ix) Hog deer

  • Habitat/ distribution northern india.
  • Name - The hog deer runs through the forests with its head hung low (hog-like manner) so that it duck under obstacles instead of leaping over them like most other deer do.

(x) Lion-tailed macaque/ wandero(Macaca silenus)

  • Endemic to the Western Ghats. Avoid human presence and they do not live, feed or travel, through plantations.
  • Habitat: Lion-tailed macaques live in southwest India in pockets of evergreen forests, called sholas, in the Western Ghats range. Today, they only live in mountain forests three Indian states: Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Captive breeding - aringnar anna zoological park, Chennai and in Mysore Zoo.

(xi) Markhor (Capra falconeri)

  • Exhibit sexual dimorphism national animal of Pakistan.
  • Habitat / distribution-mountains of central Asia. In India - some parts of jammu and Kashmir. Status - endangered Threat - hunting (both for meat and for its twisted horns),

(xii) Nilgiri langur/ Nilgiri leaf monkey ( Trachypithecus johnii)
Habitat/ distribution- hilly areas of western ghats in tamilnadu and kerala. tropical wet evergreen, semi-evergreen and riparian forests.

(xiii) Nilgiri tahr

  • The Nilgiri tahr is the largest of the three tahr species, inhabit montane grasslands of western ghats.
  • It is the state animal of Tamil nadu. shoals forest (stunted evergreen forests) are typically avoided by tahr

(xiv) Great Indian one horn Rhinoceros

  • Habitat: Found only in the tall grasslands and forests in the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, pabitora wildlife sanctuary, Manas National Park, Assam

(xv) Wild Ass

  • Habitat: Flat grassland covered expanse known as bets ( islands where coarse grasses springs up during the monsoon).
  • "National Parks: Little Rann Of Kutch, Gujarat


(i) Chiru/Tibetian Antelope

  • Habitat: Tibet cold desert
  • Threat:The chiru is threatened by hunting for its fine wool which is used to make the shahtoosh scarves, meat, magnificent horns.

(ii) Himalayan tahr

  • habitat-Himalayas
  • tahr have many characters in common with true goats, but lack a beard and have several other unique features.

(iii) Black buck
Habitat-Grass land Black buck show sexual dimorphism.

(iv) Gaur

  • The gaur (Bos gaurus), also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • The domesticated form of the gaur, Bos frontalis, is called gayal or mithun

(v) Four-horned antelope, Chousingha
The four-horned antelope must drink water regularly in order to survive

(vi) Takin
Mountainous regions in the Himalayan Mountains and western China.

(vii) Nilgiri marten

  • Endemic to the Western Ghats inhabits areas that are far from human disturbance Semi- arboreal lifestyle.
  • Martens are Carnivorous animal. Only species of marten considered vulnerable to extinction. Only species of marten found in southern India

(viii) Red Panda

  • Endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas,
  • Diet omnivorous (mainly on bamboo).
  • Habitat/ distribution - Sikkim and assam, northern arunachal Pradesh.

(ix) Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

  • Habitat / distribution -from northern India and Nepal, through south-eastern Asia to Borneo and Sumatra
  • In India - Sikkim, Darjeeling, moist tropical forest. Arboreal in nature

(x) Barasingha or swamp deer (Rucervus duvauceli)
Habitat/ distribution- isolated localities in northern and central southwester Nepal.

(xi) Indian wolf
Habitat/distribution range extends from south of the Himalayas

(xii) Oriental small-clawed otter/ Asian small-clawed otter (A onyx cinerea),

  • Otter any of 13 living species of semiaquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals.
  • It is a smallest otter species in the world,
  • It lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands.

(xiii) Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

  • Habitat/ distribution - Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China,
  • They occur in northern West Bengal, sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

(xiv) Asian black bear/ moon bear or white- chested bear (Ursus thibetanus)

  • Medium-sized species of bear, largely adapted for arboreal life,
  • Habitat/ distribution - seen across much of the Himalayas, Korea, northeastern China, the Russian far east and the Honshu and Shikoku islands of Japan.

Herbivorous Marine Mammals
Include dugong and manatees and they inhabit swamps, rivers, estuaries, marine wetlands, and coastal marine waters.

(Dugong dugon) also called as sea cow. Status - vulnerable.

Manatees- Habitat/ distribution and West Africa Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin, and wst africa
Threat- coastal development, red tide, hunting.


(i) Egg Laying Mammals

  • The unique feature of monotremes, a sub division of mammal, is that monotremes lay eggs 
  • Rather than giving birth to their young.
  • There are only five living Monotreme/ egg laying Mammals species: they are- the duck-billed platypus and four species of spiny anteaters (also known as echidna). 
  • All of them are found only in Australia and New Guinea.

(ii) Echidnas are also known as spiny ant eaters.
Habitat/ distribution Australia and New Guinea In echidnas, the egg is carried in a pouch on the female's belly until the young hatches, at which point the barely-developed young must find a mammary gland and latch onto it for nourishment.

(iii) Platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal.

  • Habitat/distribution - endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
  • In the platypus, the female retires to a burrow in the bank of a river or pond. The burrow is lined With dry vegetation, and there the eggs are laid.
  • The male platypus has venom strong enough to can kill a small dog, or cause excruciating pain among humans.

(iv) Marsupials

  • The group of mammals commonly thought of as pouched mammals (like the wallaby and kangaroo), have placenta but it is very short-lived and does not make as much of a contribution to fetal nourishment.
  • They give birth very early and the young animal, essentially a helpless embryo, climbs from the mother's birth canal to the nipples. 
  • They have short gestation time, due to having a yolk-type placenta inthe mother marsupial. Extinct Marsupial - quagga, the marsupial wolf.
  • Placental mammals all bear live young, which are nourished before birth in the mother's uterus through a specialized embryonic organ attached to the uterus wall, the placenta.
  • Placental mammals nourish the developing embryo using the mother's blood supply, allowing longer gestation times.

(v) List of Marsupials

  • Phalangers - OpoSsum
  • Kola - Tasmanian devils
  • Kangaroo - Mursupial Mole (4 foot)
  • Wallaby - Bandi coot
  • Wombats - Tasmanian Wolf /Tiger Dasyure

(vi) Flying squirrel

  • Flying squirrels are mammals too, but they don't really fly.
  • They jump from high in a trees glide through the air like a kite

The document Shankar IAS Summary: Animal Diversity Of India - 1 | Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) is a part of the UPSC Course Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests).
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FAQs on Shankar IAS Summary: Animal Diversity Of India - 1 - Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests)

1. What does it mean for a species to be critically endangered?
Ans. When a species is categorized as critically endangered, it means that it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. This classification is given by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) when a species has a very small population size or a declining population trend.
2. How are endangered birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals different from each other?
Ans. Endangered birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals differ in their characteristics and habitat requirements. Birds are warm-blooded, have feathers, and lay hard-shelled eggs. Reptiles are cold-blooded, have scales, and usually lay soft-shelled eggs. Fish are cold-blooded, have gills, and live in water. Mammals are warm-blooded, have fur or hair, and give birth to live young, which they nurse with milk.
3. What are some factors contributing to the vulnerability of mammal species?
Ans. Several factors contribute to the vulnerability of mammal species. Habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, poaching, illegal wildlife trade, pollution, and competition with invasive species are some of the major factors. Additionally, the loss of prey species, disease outbreaks, and human-wildlife conflicts also play a significant role in the vulnerability of mammal species.
4. Are there any exceptions to the vulnerability of mammals?
Ans. While most mammal species are vulnerable to various threats, there are a few exceptions. Some mammal species have adapted well to human-dominated landscapes and have stable or increasing populations, such as certain urban-adapted species like rats, mice, and certain bat species. However, it is important to note that these exceptions are few in number compared to the overall vulnerability of mammal species.
5. How are critically endangered species conservation efforts carried out?
Ans. Conservation efforts for critically endangered species involve a combination of approaches. These may include creating protected areas or sanctuaries, implementing strict regulations on hunting and trade, captive breeding and reintroduction programs, habitat restoration, public awareness campaigns, and international collaborations for conservation research and monitoring. The aim is to address the specific threats faced by each species and work towards their recovery and long-term survival.
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