India has a rich biodiversity and is home to around 1.6 million or nearly 8% of all the species of flora and fauna found in the world. India is also home to over 86,000 species of fauna including birds, insects, and land and water animals.
Besides being the only country to have both lions and tigers in its forests, India is one of the few countries that have a habitat to support large land animals like the elephant.
The Himalayas harbour some large land animals like the yak and the shaggy-horned wild ox found in the freezing high altitudes of Ladakh. Some rare species of wild animals include the snow leopard, the red panda, the ibex and the Himalayan brown bear.
The wildlife in the Indian rivers, lakes and coastal areas is equally rich with various species of reptiles like crocodiles and gharials, water snakes and turtles. There are over 940 different species of fish in India.
In order to preserve world biodiversity, and our natural heritage, fourteen biosphere reserves have been set up in the country.
Four have been included in the world network of biosphere reserves. They are the Sunderban in West Bengal, the Nanda Devi in Uttaranchal, the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, and the Nilgiris spanning across Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The government also provides financial and technical support for many of the Botanical Gardens, since 1992. To protect wildlife, the Government of India has introduced Project Tiger, Project Rhino and Project Great Indian Bustard.
In addition, there are 89 national parks, and 490 wildlife sanctuaries and zoological gardens in India to take care of our flora and fauna.
As per IUCN specifications, the species of flora and fauna can be classified as normal, extinct, endangered, vulnerable, rare or endemic.