India's Most Endangered Mammals

The endangered Phayre's Leaf Monkey is found in northeast India and neighboring countries.
The endangered Phayre's Leaf Monkey is found in northeast India and neighboring countries.

The country of India is located in the heart of South Asia. India is a large, diverse country with a variety of habitats and ecological regions. The country has a wide variety of all types of animals, including many mammals. However, the country has many species of animals that are also endangered and facing major threats. This article will discuss a few of these endangered mammals species that are located in the country, including their physical characteristics, habitats, dietary patterns and the current status of each species and the major threats that they face.

Phayre's Leaf Monkey

The Phayre's Leaf Monkey, scientific name Trachypithecus phayrei, is a species of lutung monkeys that are part of the Cercopithecidae Family of primates. The adult Phayre's Leaf Monkey grows to be between 25.6 to 33.85 inches (65 to 85 centimeters) in length and adult males grow to weight about 16 pounds (7.3 kilograms), while female are about 13.6 pounds (6.2 kilograms). The fur of this species is a white color on the underside and a dark ashy brown color everywhere else, with this color being darker around the head and the tail. This species primarily eats the leaves from a wide variety of different plant species. The habitat for the Phayre's Leaf Monkey is usually in evergreen and semi-evergreen forests or deciduous forest, but they can also live in light woodlands and areas with lost of bamboo. This species is found in India, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam. In India the species is located in the northeast states of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has had the Phayre's Leaf Monkey listed as an endangered species since 2008. In India the major threats facing the species are the fragmentation and disturbance of its habitat due to human development and agriculture. The species also is threatened by pollution and inbreeding since the population in India tends to be small and isolated.

Pygmy Hog

The Pygmy Hog, scientific name Porcula salvania, is a species of hog that is part of the Suidae Family of artiodactyl mammals. Adult Pygmy Hogs grow to be between 21.5 to 28 inches (55 to 71 centimeters) long and are only between 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) tall. They usually weight between 15 to 26 pounds (6.6 to 11.8 kilograms). The species has dark hair with skin that is a dark brown-black color and males has visible upper teeth on the sides of there mouths that visually separate them from females. The species is know to eat the root and tubers from various plants, as well as small insects, reptiles and rodents. The species live in thatch-lands, which are make up of tall, dense grasslands by riverbanks and mixed with various plants and shrubs. At one point this species was found across India, Nepal and Bangladesh, but is now only found in small parts of the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. The IUCN has had the Pygmy Hog listed as being a critically endangered species since 1996. The Pygmy Hog is the smallest and considered to be the rarest wild suid on Earth, as the species is on the brink of extinction and it there are estimated to be less then 250 adults of the species in the wild. The major threats that the species is facing are the degradation and loss of habitat due to human agricultural practices and to human settlements, as well as from hunting but to a lesser extent.

Red Panda

The Red Panda, scientific name Ailurus fulgens, is a very unique mammal, as it is the only living species in the Genus Ailurus, and also the only extant one in the Family Ailuridae. In fact, its most recent ancestors in the fossil record, Parailurus, last lived around 3 to 4 million years ago. From head to tail an adult of the species is between 31 to 48 inches (78 to 122 centimeters) in length and a males weights between 8.2 to 13.7 pounds (3.7 to 6.2 kilograms), while a female is between 6.6 to 13.2 pounds (3 to 6 kilograms). This species has reddish-brown colored fur on the upper parts of its body and black colored fur on its lower parts. Part of the face and ears of the species are white colored and each individual can have different face markings. The species is also known for their large, bushy tails that alternate in colored between red and yellowish red in a pattern of ocher rings. The majority of the species diet comes from eating bamboo, but they also eat small mammals, birds, eggs, flowers, mushrooms, roots, acorns and berries. The Red Panda is endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayan mountains and is found in the countries that border the mountains like India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. In India the species is found in the states of Assam and Sikkim. The IUCN has had the Red Panda listed as being a endangered species since 2015, since the species population has declined greatly over the last three generations of Red Panda. The major threats facing the species are the degradation, fragmentation and outright loss of its natural habitat, as well as climate change, natural disasters, poaching, human settlement and a lack of political interest in certain areas to help the species.

Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard, scientific name Panthera uncia, is a species of big cat that is part of the Felidae Family of cats. Thus species is somewhat smaller then other species of big cats, usually weighting around 60 to 121 pounds (27 to 55 kilograms) and also has a comparatively shorter body, which is between 30 to 60 inches (75 to 150 centimeters) in length. The species is known for its long tail, which is between 31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 centimeters) in length and is has the second longest tail relative to its body of any cat species. The species ranges in color from a smoky gray to a yellowish tan, with a white colored underside and dark grey to black colored spots on there bodies, legs, tail and head. The Snow Leopard is also noted for its unique pale green or grey eye color, which is rare among cat species. The species are carnivores who can hunt and kill a variety of prey, but primarily go after blue sheep or ibex. They are also known to hunt hares, marmot, pika, rodents, birds, boar, deer and a variety of other animals. The species is only found in the various high mountains of Central Asia and are found in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In India the Snow Leopard is found in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Sikkim, and Uttaranchal. The IUCN has had the Snow Leopard listed as being a endangered species since 1986. The major threats that the species faces are the depletion of its major prey, being hunted and traded illegally, conflict with humans over livestock, human population growth into its habitat and a lack of conservation capacity for the species.

Conservation of the Endangered Mammals of India

There are actions that can be taken by individuals, organizations, and governments alike to help conserve these endangered mammals of India. One can look into the many protected areas and national parks that are designated to help these species and donate money to help these areas stayed funded, learning what can be done to help or to just educate oneself more about the plight of these animals. Helping to sponsor and support national and international organization whose goal it is to protected endangered species and conserve them or who help to replant plants to reclaim these animals habitats is also a good place to look into helping.

India's Most Endangered Mammals

Endangered Mammals of IndiaScientific Name
Pygmy Hog
Malabar Large-Spotted Civet
Porcula salvania
Viverra civettina
Red Panda
Cuon alpinus
Ailurus fulgens
Royal Bengal Tiger
Lion-Tailed Macaque
Panthera tigris tigris
Macaca silenus
Indian Elephant
Bos javanicus
Elephas maximus indicus
Eld's Deer
Nilgiri Tahr
Panolia eldii
Nilgiritragus hylocrius
South Asian River Dolphins
Ganges River Dolphin
Indus River Dolphin

Platanista gangetica gangetica
Platanista gangetica minor
Gee's Golden Langur
Asiatic Lion
Trachypithecus geei
Panthera leo persica
Himalayan Musk Deer
Snow Leopeard
Moschus leucogaster
Panthera uncia
Hispid Hare
Caprolagus hispidus
Western Hoolock Gibbon
Phayre's Leaf Monkey
Hoolock hoolock
Trachypithecus phayrei

More in Environment