There are unique and rare animals and then there are the endemic ones. In Indian context, there are many such animals that fit the bill of being unique and even rare. We have Bengal tiger, Indian wild elephant, Asiatic lion, greater one-horned rhinoceros, gharial, to name a few, stuff that any wildlife enthusiast's wet dreams are made of. But we also believe in being a bit 'extra'. Indian wilds will never fail to impress you, you only need to delve deeper (literally) to find these well hidden and endemic gems. Here are five such wild beings that are not only endemic, but wherever they are, their status is critical and some even hanging precariously near the point of extinction. Meet these five wildlife gems.
Nilgiri Blue Robin
The Nilgiri blue robin also goes by many names such as Nilgiri shortwing, white-bellied shortwing, Nilgiri sholakili or rufous-bellied shortwing. The species may have many names but their number isn't doing so well. Nilgiri blue robins are endemic to the Shola forests of southern India, mainly north of the Palghat Gap. If you look closely, you will find them on the forest floor and in the safety of the undergrowth of dense forest patches. These birds love the altitude, making the higher hills of the Western Ghats a perfect home. Their choice of home is limited so any loss of these forest areas has a direct impact on their population. Loss of habitat is their biggest threat.
Malabar Large-Spotted Civet
A sketch is all we got for the Malabar large-spotted civet. That's how rare this animal is. The species also goes by the name Malabar civet. Endemic to the Western Ghats, Malabar civets are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Last checked, there were fewer than 250 adult individuals still surviving in the wild. Loss of habitat and hunting have pushed the species to the brink of extinction.
Measuring up to only 21.5 to 28 inches in length, 8–12 inches in height and 6.6–11.8 kg in weight, the pygmy hog is little. Globally, pygmy hogs are found only in Assam and the 150 odd individuals that are left face the danger of extinction. The species is the sole representative of Porcula, a whole different branch of pigs, and their extinction would mean a total loss of the entire species. Where are the sub-species when we need them?
The Manipur brow-antlered deer or the Eld's deer is locally known as sangai. Found only in the floating phumdis of Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur, this very shy species are hard to find. In total, these are found only in about 15-20 km2 area across the park. According to the folklore, sangai is that binding factor between humans and nature and killing it was no less than a sin. But sadly, that didn't stop the hunters. Sangai is also Manipur's state animal and a lot of conservation efforts are made to save and protect the species.