Wildlife in Focus… part 3: India
Wildlife is often an important element in holidays to India, and with our guide you can find out more about the kinds of creatures you can see here – as well as where to see them.
Ranthambore National Park, RajasthanOne of the largest national parks in Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is famous for its tiger population. Once upon a time, this prestigious wildlife reserve was the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur - so today the safety of its animals could hardly be more different from the past.
The Bengal tigerWith fewer than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild, it may seem natural to assume that this is the rarest of all the tiger species. Yet, while endangered, the Bengal tiger is in fact the most populous subspecies in the wild today, totalling approximately half of all wild tigers. Also known as Indian tigers, these big cats each have unique stripe patterns, which act as camouflage to help them stalk their prey. Fiercely territorial, tigers are the largest of the big cats and, while being feared, typically do their best to avoid humans.
The marsh crocodileTigers may certainly occupy the spotlight in Ranthambore National Park, but there is much else to see here. Also known as the mugger crocodile, the marsh crocodile is an olive colour, spotted with black. Living primarily in marshes, lakes and rivers, this reptile typically has a much brighter colour in adulthood and is paler when younger, so if you spot one it is fun to try to discern its approximate stage of life by its hue.
Sasan Gir National Park, GujaratHome to a rare subspecies of lion, Gujarat is a wonderful place for wildlife spotting. Sasan Gir National Park is a particular highlight, thanks to its population of this big cat - the Asiatic lion - and its variety of other amazing creatures. This is also another example of a wildlife reserve that was once a royal hunting ground.
The Asiatic lionLike the Bengal tiger, the Asiatic lion is an endangered species - but its numbers are even fewer than that of its striped relative. In fact, fewer than 300 Asiatic lions live in wild today, and this is one of the sole places in India you can see them. Living for up to 18 years, the lion is the only member of the cat family that lives in groups (known as prides). The females of the pride are its key hunters, and will often work together to secure a kill, while the males guard the group's territory.