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CRITICALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES IN INDIA
Jul 05, 2014

Critically endangered is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list to wild species. 





List of Critically Endangered Animal Species (Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fishes) of India :


1. Anoxypristis cuspidata (Knife tooth Sawfish): Also known as pointed sawfish, a sawfish of the family Pristidae, an only member of the genus Anoxypristis, It is seen seasonally and very occasionally caught along with the BullSharks and the Green Sawfish.  





Habitat: Western part of the Indo-Pacific (East Africa to New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam to Australia).

  • In India, it is known to enter the Mahanadi River, up to 64 km inland, and also is very common in the estuaries of the Ganga and Brahmaputra.


Threats: There is an increasing demand for sawfish in aquaria. 

  • Major habitat changes those include construction of dams over rivers, siltation, pollution.

 

2. Batagur baska (Four-toed Terrapin): Also called as river Terrapin. 

Ecological Significance: The omnivorous diet of the river terrapin and otherterrapin species makes them an essential part of the  efficient clean-up systems of aquatic habitats.



Habitat: Freshwater rivers and lakes, Terrestrial nest sites (sandbars and riverbanks). Also tidal areas of large river estuaries.


Distribution: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.


Threats: Use of flesh for medicinal purposes, demand for eggs, which are considered a delicacy. Illegally exported from Indonesia and traded in substantial numbers in China despite a CITES I listing. It occurs in small populations over its range.

3.  Batagur kachuga (Red-crowned Roofed Turtle): Also known as Bengal roofed turtle is a critically endangered confined to south Asia.


Habitat: Deep, flowing rivers but with terrestrial nest sites.

Distribution: Found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In India it resides basically in the watershed of the Ganga.


Threats: Water development projects, water pollution, human disturbance and poaching for the illegal wildlife market.

4. Biswamoyopterus biswasi (Namdapha Flying Squirrel): It is an arboreal, nocturnal   flying squirrel endemic to India and restricted to a single valley in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.


Habitat:
It is a mostly crepuscular and arboreal species. It occurs in dry deciduous montane forests occupying moist forest tracts along streams 


Distribution: Found only in Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.


Threats: Poaching of animals for food within the park has been observed to be the major threat. The species appears to have a restricted range, with presumably some general habitat loss and degradation taking place. Additional important threats include habitat loss through landslides and flooding.

5. Carcharhinus hemiodon (Pondicherry Shark): A marine fish that occurs or occurred inshore on continental and insular shelves. 

  • This is a very rare and little-known species.

  • It  has only been recorded from a small number of widely-separated sites (most of them in India).


  • Represented by fewer than twenty specimens in museum collections, most of which were captured before 1900. 

  • The last record was in 1979 in India; it has not been seen since anywhere

Distribution: Indian Ocean – from Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.In scattered localities spanning India to New Guinea. Has also been recorded at the mouth of the Hooghly river.

Threats: Large, expanding, and unregulated commercial fisheries in inshore localities and habitats.


6.  Large Rock-rat: Also called as rat-squirrel is a medium sized,nocturnal and burrowing rodent that is endemic to India.


Habitat:  
occurs in tropical dry deciduous scrub forest, where it is seen in rocky areas.

Distribution: Known only from Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu. Recorded from an elevation of about 600 m above mean sea level.


Threats: Major threats are habitat loss, conversion of forests for agriculture or other commercial use and fuel wood collection.

7.   Andaman White-toothed Shrew & Jenkin's Shrew: Endemic to India.

  • Usually active by twilight or in the night.

  • Have specialized habitat requirements.


Habitat: Lives in tropical moist deciduous and evergreen forests, where it inhabits leaf litter and rock crevices 

Distribution: The Andaman White-toothed Shrew is found on Mount Harriet in the South 
Andaman Islands. The Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew is found on Wright Myo and Mount Harriet in the South Andaman Islands.

Threats: Habitat loss due to selective logging, natural disasters such as the Tsunami  and drastic weather changes. Increased anthropological activities on these island also has fragmented their habitat.

8.Crocidura nicobarica (Nicobar Shrew): All individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.


Habitat: It is a nocturnal and semi fossorial species, which lives among leaf litter in tropical moist deciduous forest.

Distribution: The Nicobar White-tailed Shrew is found in the southern tip of Greater Nicobar Island and is also recorded in the area extending from the Campbell Bay National Park to the Galathea River in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Threat: Threatened by habitat loss.

9.Leatherback Turtle: Also called as lute turtle, is the largest of the living sea turtles.


Habitat:
Tropical and subtropical oceans. It is Deep diving turtle. They make extensive migrations between different feeding areas at different seasons, and to and from nesting areas. 

Distribution: Found in tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.


Threats: High sea fishing operations, harvesting of eggs, destruction of nests by wild predators and domesticated species such as cats, dogs and pigs. Artificial lighting disorients hatchlings and adults and causes them to migrate inland rather than towards the sea. Threats to habitat include construction, mining and plantation of exotics species.

10. Sumatran Rhinoceros: It is the smallest rhinoceros specie and has seen very severe declines of greater than 80% over three generations. It is now thought to be regionally extinct in India, though it once   occurred in the foothills of the Himalayas and north-east India.


Habitat:
It inhabits tropical rainforest and montane moss forest, and occasionally occurs at forest margins and in secondary forest. Mainly occurs in hilly areas near to water resource.

Distribution: It is native to Indonesia and Malaysia and regionally extinct in India, Bhutan, Cambodia.


Threat: Principal cause is poaching. Hunting is primarily driven by the demand for the supposedly medicinal properties of rhino horns and other body parts, and many centuries of over-hunting has reduced this species to a tiny percentage of its former population and range.

11. Javan Rhinoceros: The Javan Rhinoceros is also believed to be extinct in India and only a small number survive in Java and Vietnam.


Habitat:
Most endangered mammal on Earth. It is estimated by that fewer than 60 Javan rhinos live in the wild today. 

Occurs in lowland tropical rainforest areas, especially in the vicinity of water

formerly occurred in more open mixed forest and grassland and on high mountains


Distribution: It occurred from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and probably southern China through peninsular Malaya to Sumatra and Java 


Threat:  major threat due to demand in china for medicinal purpose.

One possible threat to this population is disease

In addition poaching, Loss of habitat due to fragmentation are other causes.

12. Hawksbill Turtle: A heavily exploited species. The species is migratory in nature and nesting occurs in about 70 countries across the world. It has a generally flattened body shape.


Habitat:
Nesting occurs on insular, sandy beaches.

They are highly migratory and use a wide range of broadly separated localities and habitats during their lifetimes

Hawksbills typically inhabit a series of developmental habitats, with some tendency for larger turtles to inhabit deeper sites.

Distribution: In India they are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the coast of Tamil Nadu and Orissa.

Threats: Turtle shell trade, egg collection, slaughter for meat, oil pollution and destruction of 
nesting and foraging habitats. Oil Pollution is also a major threat to their survival.

13. Gavialis gangeticus (Fish-eating Crocodile) also called as Gharial: It is one of the longest of all living crocodilians; measuring up to 6.25 m. Gharials once inhabited all the major river systems of the Indian Subcontinent, from the Irrawaddy River in the east to the Indus River in the west. Their distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range. They inhabit foremost flowing rivers with high sand banks that they use for basking and building nests.


Habitat:
Indian Gharials nest in seasonally exposed sandbanks along slow moving sections of large to medium sized rivers.


Distribution: Only viable population in the National Chambal Sanctuary spread across three states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India. Small non-breeding populations exist in Son, Gandak, Hoogly and Ghagra rivers. Now extinct in Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh.


Threats: The combined effects of dams, barrages, artificial embankments, change in river course, Alteration of habitat, demand of eggs, and irreversible loss of riverine habitat.

14. Ganges Shark: It is a uniquely adapted fish-eating shark that occurs in the turbid waters of the Ganga River and the Bay of Bengal. The small eyes suggest that it is adapted to living in turbid water, while  the slender teeth of the species suggests that it is primarily a fish-eater. It grows to a maximum length of 2.04 m.


Habitat:
The habitat of this species is thought to be fresh water in the lower reaches of the Ganges-Hooghly River system, possibly also shallow marine estuaries and found in both fresh and marine water system.


Distribution: It occurs in India and possibly in Pakistan. The Ganga river system and Hooghly river mouth are its known habitats.


Threats: Major fisheries targeting sharks. Other probable threats include overfishing, pollution, increasing river use and construction of dams and barrages. International demand for its jaws also a major cause for its decline.

15. Gundia Indian Frog:  Belongs to a family that has been evolving independently in India for almost 50 million years. It is a ground-dwelling species, living on the forest floor of a single, small area of the Western Ghats and is found at elevation of 200m from sea level.


Habitat:
Terrestrial species of moist tropical forest and found in.

Distribution: Known only to exist in Gundia, Kempholey in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka, South India. 


Threats: Habitat loss caused due to intensive livestock production, harvesting of wood and timber by local people, road construction, and the development of tourism facilities.

16.Kerala Indian Frog (Indirana phrynoderma): It is a ground-dwelling species, living on the forest floor in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats and found at elevation of 500m from sea level.  Despite its presence in protected areas, the species is threatened by habitat destruction and degradation.


Habitat:
A terrestrial species associated with leaf-litter in tropical moist forest.

Distribution: Anamalai hills of Kerala and Tamilnadu.


Threats: The major threat to this species is habitat loss due to subsistence wood collecting.

17. Ingerana Charles Darwini: Also know as Charles Darvin frog appears to be endemic to small parts of South Andaman and North Andaman in the Andaman Islands of India, below 500m sea level, where it is currently known only from Mount Harriet and Saddle Peak.

18. Deccan Labeo: It is type of fish. 

  • Endemic to the Western Ghats of India. 

  • Habitat alterations caused by anthropogenic activities including organic and inorganic pollution, harvesting of the fish and competition created by introduced Gangetic carps could be the possible threats contributing to the population decline of this species.

Habitat: Benthopelagic species, which inhabits rivers and streams in the upper reaches.

Distribution: This species occurs in tributaries of Krishna River system namely Bhima River and its tributaries. 


Threat: Habitat alteration.

19. The Kottigehar Bubble-nest Frog (Micrixalus kottigeharensis): is only known to occur in Kottigehar, Kadur in the Western Ghats of Karnataka state. Its distribution is restricted to elevation around 1000 m above mean sea level.


Habitat:
Presumably a forest species, it was recently collected close to a road and a stream. Like other members of the genus, it probably has aquatic larvae in streams.

Distribution: This species is known to occur in Kottigehar, Kadur in the Hassan district and recently discovered at  Bhadra in Chikamangalur district, Karnataka, India.


Threats: Habitat loss as a result of conversion to agriculture, including paddy fields and cash crops such as coconut and cashew.  

Some other species of frog which are critically endangered are  Philautus chalazodes, Philautus griet, Philautus ponmudi, Philautus sanctisilvaticus,Philautus shillongensis,Philautus sp. nov.'Amboli Forest' Philautus sp. nov. 'Munnar' and Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus

20. Kondana Rat (Millardia kondana): It is nocturnal burrowing rodent endemic to India. 


Habitat:
Tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests and tropical scrub.

Distribution: Known only from the small Sinhagarh Plateau near Pune in Maharashtra. Reported from an elevation of about 1,270 m above mean sea level.


Threats: The major threats to the species are general loss of habitat, overgrazing of vegetation and disturbance from tourism.

21. Pygmy Hog( Porcula salvania):  It is  an endangered species of small wild pig, previously spread across India, Nepal, and Bhutan, but now only found in Assam.

  • The world’s smallest wild pig, with adults weighing only 8 kgs. 

  • This species constructs a nest throughout the year. 

  • It is one of the most useful indicators of the management status of grassland habitats. 

  • The grasslands where the pygmy hog resides are crucial for the survival of other endangered species such as Indian Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer ,Wild Buffalo, Hispid Hare , Bengal Florican  and Swamp 

  • The current world population is about 150 individuals or fewer.


Habitat: This species is dependent on early successional riverine communities, typically comprising dense tall grasslands, commonly referred to as 'thatchland', but which, in its pristine state, is intermixed with a wide variety of herbaceous plants and early colonizing shrubs and young trees.

Distribution: Confined to few location in Assam (Manas National Park)


Threat:
loss and degradation of habitat due to human settlements,

  • Agricultural encroachments

  • Dry-season burning,

  • Livestock grazing

  • Commercial forestry and flood control schemes;

  • Hunting for wild meat by tribes 

22. Leichhardt's Sawfish (Pristis microdon): It is found in Indo-Pacific ocean. 

  • They are heavy-bodied sawfish with a short but massive saw, 

  • Grow up to 3 m. in length. 

  • Adults usually found in estuaries and young ascend into fresh water

  • It is seen seasonally and very occasionally caught along with the Bull Sharks and the Green Sawfish.  

Habitat: Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths, and freshwater rivers and lakes. Usually found in turbid channels of large rivers over soft mud bottoms.

Distribution: Western part of the Indo-Pacific (East Africa to New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam to Australia). In India, it is known to enter the Mahanadi river, up to 64 km inland, and also is very common in the estuaries of the Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Threat: Demand for aquaria. Major habitat change like construction of dams and ports on rivers.


23.Narrowsnout Sawfish(Pristis zijsron): grow up to 4.3m in length and are heavily exploited by humans. This species was reported as frequently found in shallow water. It has shark like body.


Habitat:
It inhabits muddy bottoms and also enters estuaries. Its presence has been recorded in inshore marine waters, and it goes down to depths of at least 40 m.

Distribution: Native to the western Indo-Pacific. Its range extends from the east coast of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and northern Australia.


Threats: This species has been damaged intensively, both as a target species and as incidental. Some major threats are:

  • Fishing: The large, toothed rostrum is easily entangled in fishing nets and other gear.

  • Habitat loss (particularly loss of intertidal areas, and coastal development)

  • Pollution

  • Climate change



 

 


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