5. Important Species

Red Panda

  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Himalayan red panda: Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Tibet.
  • Chinese red panda:

Eurasian Otter

  • IUCN Status: Near Threatened
  • Semi-aquatic mammal
  • Native to Eurasia. Sighted first time in brackish water Chilika lagoon.

Long-tailed macaques

  • IUCN: Least Concerned
  • It is a crab-eating macaque.
  • Associated with freshwater habitat.
  • Native to Southeast Asia: found in Australasia and Indo-Malayan Realm.
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Himalayan Ibex

  • IUCN status: Least Concern
  • Ibex is a species of wild goat.
  • Found in Pin Valley National Park (Himachal Pradesh) and Kanji Wild Life Sanctuary (Jammu and Kashmir).
  • Under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Grey Seal

    • IUCN status: Least Concern
    • Mammals of coastal waters in the North Atlantic Ocean.
    • Many seal pups (baby) died on the Baltic Sea shores in Estonia and
      • Reason: Nordic coastline faced the first winter without ice in decades.
    • Grey seals need ice – which helps them keep a distance from predators, to breed pups during the
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Blue-throated Macaw

    • IUCN status: Critically Endangered
    • It is a large parrot
    • Habitat: Forest, Savanna grass
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Sal forest tortoise or elongated tortoise

    • IUCN status: Critically Endangered
    • Distributed over eastern and northern India and Southeast

Dugong (sea cow)

    • IUCN status: Vulnerable
    • world’s only vegetarian marine
    • Found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and

Charru mussel

  • It is an invasive species, native to South and Central American coasts,
  • Spreading in backwaters of Kerala.
  • Spreading triggered by Cyclone Ockhi (2017)
  • Often used as indicators of water
  • Threatening molluscan fisheries and their livelihood.
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Anthurium

    • A domestic flowering plant known for purifying surrounding
    • Beautiful inflorescence (process of flowering).
    • NASA placed it in list of air purifier
    • National Innovation Foundation has facilitated large-scale production through tissue culture
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Gangetic dolphin

    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • National Aquatic Animal of
    • Found in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh: the Ganges- Brahmaputra-Meghna, and Karnaphuli- Sangu river systems.
    • They can only live in freshwater and are essentially
      • They prefer deep waters, in and around the confluence of
    • Indicator of the health of the entire river
    • These are one among the 21 species identified under the centrally sponsored scheme, Development of Wildlife Habitat.
      • Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin (2010-2020)
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Indus River Dolphin

    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Found in lower Indus in Pakistan and in River Beas in India.
    • Adapted to life in the muddy river and are functionally
    • State aquatic animal of Punjab.
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Irrawaddy Dolphin (Snubfin dolphin)

    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Found in Irrawaddy River, Ganga river, Chilka Lake, Mekong

    Prefer to live in estuaries and brackish water near coasts

Indian Ocean humpback dolphin

    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Prefer near shore waters, ideally with a freshwater

Gharial

  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered.
  • Extant: Bangladesh; India; Nepal
  • It is found majorly in Chambal river
  • in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • June 17 is celebrated as World Crocodile day.
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White Giraffe

    • IUCN Status: Vulnerable
    • Poachers killed two of them in Kenya. Just one is left in the world.
    • Appearance of the giraffe is due to leucism.
    • Giraffes are most often found in savanna/woodland habitats.
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Leucism vs Albinism

  • Albinism

    • It is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin.
    • Melanin is what is present in the skin and is what gives skin, feathers, hair and eyes their color.
    • Vertebrates with albinism also have very pale eyes, often pink or red in color as the blood vessels show through.

    Leucism

    • It is only a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily colored skin, hair, or feathers.
    • However, the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition.

Golden Tiger (Kazi 106F)

      • It is India’s only Golden Tiger.
      • Found in Kaziranga National Park of Assam.
      • They have golden stripes in place of black in normal
      • Golden tiger or tabby tiger or strawberry tiger: a tiger with a color variation caused by a recessive gene
        • Yellow skin of tigers is controlled by a set of ‘agouti genes’
        • Black stripes are controlled by ‘tabby genes’ and their alleles.
        • Suppression of any of these genes may lead to color variation in a
      • Concerns: Their rare skin tone is a result of excessive inbreeding.

       

      Note: Inbreeding

      • Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals or organisms that are closely related genetically.
      • It increases the chances of offspring being affected by deleterious or recessive traits.
      • Tigers inbreed when they are almost islanded (no connectivity to other landscapes); which is mainly caused by habitat loss and corridor destruction.

Pied Cuckoo

    • IUCN status: Least Concern
    • It is one of the few species that come to India in the summer: migration from Africa.
    • Arrival of pied cuckoos is traditionally seen as onset of the monsoon.

    Tagging the birds with satellite transmitters

    • Study is part of Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN)
    • First time a bird species is being tagged to understand its relationship with climate patterns. Eg. change in monsoon winds, erratic rainfall, seasonal fluctuations, etc

     

    Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN)

    • funded by Department of
    • IBIN is proposed to be a single portal data provider on India’s bioresource – plant, animal, marine, spatial distribution and microbial

Gaur or Indian Bison

  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Gaur is the world’s largest and tallest bovine.
  • Native to Indian Subcontinent.
  • News: First population estimation was carried out in the Nilgiris Forest.
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Black Redstart

  • IUCN status: Least Concerned
  • The bird breeds across the Himalayan Range.
  • Range: Europe, Asia, Africa.
  • In India, the bird essentially sticks to areas near wetlands, open cultivation, scrubs and pleasant gardens and orchards.

Asiatic Lion

  • Asiatic Lion IUCN status: Endangered. African lion IUCN status: Vulnerable.
  • Found in Gir forest of Gujarat.
  • Asiatic lions and African lions are subspecies of the same species. Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than Africans.
  • 2020 census: 674 Asiatic lions (increased by 30% in last 5 years) in Gir forest, Gujarat, and other revenue areas of coastal Saurashtra.
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Polar bears

  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable
  • Can become extinct by 2100 if GHG emissions are not reduced.
  • Global warming caused Arctic sea ice to melt. Hence, polar bears are left with smaller habitats.
  • They rely on Arctic sea ice to hunt for seals.
  • They are symbol of impacts of climate crisis
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Gynandromorphs

  • A gynandromorph is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics.
  • Bilateral anatomy: divide down the middle into male and female sides,
  • Mosaic: an organism composed of cells of two genetically different types, or characteristic of both the sexes.
  • Gynandromorphs occur in insects, spiders, crustaceans etc.
  • News: recently documented in a dragonfly in Kerala.
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Band-tail scorpion fish

  • its spines contain neurotoxic venom.
  • Ability to change colour and camouflage: to escape from predators and while catching a prey.
  • Distributed in Indian and South Pacific Oceans.
  • first time found live in the Indian waters (Gulf of Mannar).
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Narcondam hornbill

  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • These are frugivores: primarily eat fruits and berries.
  • endemic to Narcondam Island in Andamans. (volcanic island)
  • Narcondam Island is Important Bird Area by BirdLife International and the Bombay Natural History Society.

Note: A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits, succulent fruit-like vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts and seeds.

Dhole (Asiatic Wild Dog)

  • IUCN status:
  • Tiger and dhole are the only two large carnivore in India which are endangered.
  • Important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.
  • Found in a wide variety of habitats, like deciduous and evergreen forests and alpine steppe. Eg. Karnataka, Maharashtra and MP.
  • India perhaps has the highest number of dholes.
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Woolly whitefly

  • Invasive exotic pest of Caribbean origin
  • Recorded from guava plantations in South India
  • News: two types of ladybird beetles found to be biological weapons against it.
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Golden Birdwing

  • A Himalayan species: India’s largest butterfly.
  • It has a wingspan of approx. 200 mm
  • Largest female: in Didihat in Uttarakhand
  • Largest male: the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Shillong.
  • Earlier, Southern Birdwing was the largest for last 88 years.
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Coccolithophores

  • single-celled algae in upper layers of oceans.
  • They calcify marine phytoplankton: In the process they help in removing carbon dioxide from atmosphere and ocean.
  • Study: increase in diatoms algae has decreased calcium carbonate concentration in Southern Indian Ocean. It will affect the growth of coccolithophores.
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Himalayan Viagra or Kira Jari

    • IUCN status: vulnerable
    • It is a fungus.
    • It is a caterpillar fungus endemic to the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau.
    •