2017 Kingdom of the Tiger
There are 400 mammal species and over 500 bird species that can be found among the country’s 500 national parks and reserves. Two thirds of the world’s wild tigers, one-horn rhino, and Asian elephants find refuge in India. 15 species of cats (5 big cats), 4 species of wild cattle, 15 species of primates, 4 species of bear, 7 species of dog, 6 species of antelope, 9 species of deer, and numerous species of smaller animals roam the forests, grasslands, deserts, mountains, and waterways of the Indian subcontinent.
Tigers though have become the magnet for eco-tourism in India. India is home to the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the second largest tiger in the world after the massive Amur or Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) which reaches weights near 700 pounds and reaches lengths of 11 feet long. The tiger is revered in the Hindu religion, it is the national animal, and India has fought tirelessly to bring the animal back from the brink of extinction. The protected areas not only serve as success stories for tiger but for the umbrella of species that thrive in keystone species-rich ecosystems.