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India is a land of diversity, and its diversity is quite evident by the flora and fauna. With its rich biodiversity, India is home to numerous plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, and animals. However, with increased activities like illegal poaching, land acquisition, construction of new buildings, and deforestation, wildlife faces a significant threat of extinction. 

According to a report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2022, about 15 birds, ten mammals, five reptiles, and five fish species have joined the critically endangered list of animals. With World Animal Day just around the corner, we will look at the endangered animals in India, the reasons why they are considered critically endangered, and what we can do to save these critically endangered species in India. 

But, first, let us know what World Animal Day is

Animals can talk like humans do, but World Animal Day, celebrated on October 4th every year, is the day we give them to speak for themselves. This day brings all the ardent animal lovers globally together to celebrate the voiceless and beautiful creation of nature, animals. 

As the name suggests, the day is for the preservation, protection, and welfare of the animals who have a massive impact on our lives and nature. It is a day to recognise the role of the animals in the ecosystem and give them a safe space to live and flourish. 

The history of World Animal Day dates to 1925 when a German animal lover named Heinrich Zimmermann organised the first celebration for animals in Berlin. In 2003, a charity organisation based in the UK, Naturewatch Foundation, sponsored an event and organised ways for all animal lovers worldwide to participate and make their voices heard in support of animals. 

The day is not just for domesticated animals but also for wild animals and endangered species threatened by environmental devastation that need immediate protection. 

Which animals are critically endangered in India?

  • Red Panda
  • Indian Pangolin
  • Gangetic River Dolphin
  • Great Indian Bustard
  • Gharial
  • Bengal Tigers
  • Snow Leopards
  • Black Buck
  • One-horned Rhinoceros

Extinct animals in India

Many wild animals that once thrived in India have now become extinct. Some of the notable extinct species in India include:

  • Indian Cheetah
  • Pink-headed duck
  • Sunderban dwarf Rhinoceros
  • Himalayan Quail
  • Indian Javan Rhinoceros

Important reasons why many animals are highly endangered and face the risk of extinction

  • The increased human activities, like the destruction of trees and forest lands, mining, etc., have led to the loss of the natural habitat of the animals, which in turn, has resulted in many species facing extinction risk. 
  • Poaching and overhunting have had a devastating effect on the number of animals and fishes in the world. 
  • Pollution and environmental challenges are important reasons why many animals find it hard to survive. Polluted water bodies and land affect the animals' health, resulting in many deaths. 

Six easy things everyone can do to protect the endangered species in India

  • First and foremost, learn about the endangered animal species in your locality. Have an open conversation with the locals, friends, and families, about the importance of these wildlife species near you and how they help maintain a sound environmental balance. This will immensely help take small but concrete steps in saving and protecting them. 
  • Reduce the water use in the home and garden so that the animals in your area can have access to clean water and have a better chance of survival. Make sure you don't pollute the local water bodies by dumping chemical items like paint, oil, etc., in them. 
  • You may have heard of several news where animals get killed by speeding vehicles. So, make sure that you drive slowly, especially when passing through a forest area, and keep an eye out for wildlife to avoid collision and cause harm to them. 
  • Stop buying exotic animals as pets and avoid keeping wild animals in captivity. Even if you notice any such activity, immediately report it to the concerned local officials and give them a chance to be freed into their natural habitat. 
  • One of the greatest threats to wildlife species is the destruction of their habitat. So, take steps to protect the wildlife and keep the animals' natural homes safe. 
  • Avoid buying animal-based products or souvenirs from your trips. Many animal products could be made from the skin or other parts of highly endangered animals. 
  • Protecting the animal habitat and wildlife species can make a significant difference in maintaining an ecological balance. Wildlife is precious, and we must protect and preserve them!

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