The Threat of Extinction!


All around the world social activists and environmentalists are seen running hither and thither raising voices against the indiscriminate felling of trees for the purpose of urbanization. With the rising population, man has no other alternative but the clearing of more forests for housing and industrialization. The present society has transformed so much that they have stopped thinking twice before taking up an endeavour. And the result of man’s blind foolishness is no less than terrible.

Mass clearing of forest land has caused not only a massive decrease of natural environment but has also left some plant and animal species under the threat of extinction. You have no idea about the infinite flora and fauna that has been red listed and are constantly kept on check lest they disappear from the surface of the earth shortly. It is high time man realized his follies and learned to live in harmony with nature. Thanks to Mother Earth we were provided a home to live and facilities to cherish that we can never think of. But despite being grateful for the bounties of nature, we did wrong and are still doing the same.

With the coming of age, the environment and the surroundings in which we live has undergone drastic changes. The world has developed beyond imagination and man is still on the path to making more discoveries that can aid an easy and luxurious future. I agree it is only right on our part to think innovatively about our comforts but we should also at the same time remember that we are not the only living beings under the mercy of nature. Of all His creations, God made man the ultimate decision maker. He must have done so believing us to traverse the right path. But are we travelling the right road? I guess it’s time we sat down and gave it a second thought.

It’s a sad and depressing knowledge to know about the endangered species of plants and animals, and I suppose it’s time we did something to let the world know about their deploring condition. And the best way I believe is to begin from the roots. As a part of creating awareness and also to provide some worldly knowledge, read further and you will come across some of the most beautiful wild animals that once walked the earth’s surface but have now disappeared into thin air.

Given below is a list of the extinct animals of India:

1. INDIAN CHEETAH: Also known as the Asiatic Cheetah, excess hunting, forest clearing and hence loss of habitat had resulted in the fast depletion of the number of Cheetahs in India. Cheetahs were the fastest land animals on earth. In India, they were mostly found in the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Thanks to the intervention of man, today the Asiatic Cheetah no longer graces the earth’s surface. If the only man controls his greed for materialistic pleasures, I believe we can, at least, do something to prevent its sibling, the Iranian Cheetah (an endangered species found only in Iran), from facing the wrath of extinction.

2. INDIAN AUROCHS: The Indian Aurochs belonged to the cattle group that helped man earn money to make his both ends meet. Aurochs were 6.6 feet tall and weighed a full 1000 kilograms and were hence very huge and wild compared to other normal domestic animals. When alive, they mostly occupied the hot and dry regions of India. The Indian Bison, Zebu and Gaurs are some of the Indian cattle that exist today and are more or less similar in appearance and behaviour to the extinct wild Indian Aurochs.

3. SIVATHERIUM: A direct ancestor to the modern giraffes, the elaborate built of a Sivatherium makes it look more like a moose. The animal was very large, approximately 7 feet tall. Sivatherium was first discovered in India and was called so after Lord Shiva whom the Hindus worship. Thanks to hunting we lost these giant animals that were also the tallest and fastest monsters found in India ever. Pictures of this prehistoric animal have been found preserved in rocks in the Sahara Desert.

4. SUMATRAN RHINOCEROS: The Sumatran Rhino was the smallest of the species that was left homeless with the continuous disappearing of forest reserves. Also known as the hairy rhino and the two-horned rhino, they inhabited the rainforests of India and its neighbouring North East Asian countries. The Sumatran Rhinos preferred living in lowland swamps and montane forests, especially in regions with thick vegetation. Excessive damage to natural reserves has causes a critical decrease in their number such that, today they are estimated to be fewer in population than 270 and no longer exists in India.

5. LARGE-SPOTTED CIVET: Also known as the Malabar Civet the decline of the nocturnal Large-spotted Civet was sole because of its complete loss of habitat. Increasing encroachment of forest reserves resulted in a rapid decrease in the Civet population, so much so even the reproductive individuals were severely fragmented and isolated. Civets were mainly found in the Western Ghats of India especially South Malabar.

6. PINK-HEADED DUCK: The Pink-Headed Duck was a large diving blackish-brown duck that lived on the Gangetic Plains of India, Bangladesh and the riverine swamps of Myanmar. This long-necked duck that was once both the beauty and pride of the Indian sub-continent is feared extinct since the 1950’s. There was a time when the pink-headed duck could be spotted anywhere in India. It was as if the bird gave an identity to the country. But that was many years ago before hunters took an interest in its beautiful appearance. However, it is also suggested that the Pink-Headed Duck still thrives in the inaccessible swamp regions of northern Myanmar.

7. HIMALAYAN QUAIL: Belonging to the pheasant family, the Himalayan Quail was last spotted in 1876 in the western Himalayas in Uttarakhand.  The red (also yellow) bill and legs of this medium sized dark bird with prominent white spots before and after the eye added to the attractiveness of the Himalayan Quail. Believed to have been one of the rarest birds on earth, it is ourselves we have to blame for their tragic disappearance.

This is only a few of the many animals that have faced extinction and are under threat of disappearing shortly. I hope we understand the value of nature and how important it is for us to live with nature and with nature before it’s too late to do something.


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