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IUCN Red List India | Red Data List | Red Book Part-2

IUCN Red List India (As of March 2019)

  • The list contains critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species.
  • The list is updated by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) from time to time as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 1996.

‘Endangered’ Marine Mammals

Freshwater (river) dolphin / South Asian River Dolphin

Freshwater (river) dolphin Susu

  • Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu‘.
  • Susu can only live in freshwater and is essentially blind. Hence, susu are also known as blind dolphin.
  • They hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds.
  • Distribution: India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan which is split into two subspecies, the Ganges river dolphin and Indus river dolphin.
  • Threats: Unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; habitat loss and degradation – water development projects (barrages, high dams, and embankments), pollution – industrial waste and pesticides, municipal sewage discharge and noise from vessel traffic.
Ganges river dolphin (Susu)
  • Habitat: Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
  • The Ganges river dolphin has been recognized by the government of India as its National Aquatic Animal.
Indus river dolphin
  • Habitat: Indus River in Pakistan and its Beas and Sutlej tributaries.
Q. Other than poaching, what are the possible reasons for the decline in the population of Ganges River Dolphins?
  1. Construction of dams and barrages on rivers
  2. Increase in the population of crocodiles in rivers
  3. Getting trapped in fishing nets accidentally
  4. Use of synthetic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals in crop-fields in the vicinity of rivers

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: c) 1, 3 and 4 only

Q. Which one of the following is the national aquatic animal of India?
  1. Saltwater crocodile
  2. Olive ridley turtle
  3. Gangetic dolphin
  4. Gharial

Answer: c) Susu

‘Vulnerable’ Mammals


  • Placed in Vulnerable category.
  • Threats: Trade in bones is the major reason for their dwindling numbers.

Nilgiri langur/ Nilgiri leaf monkey (Trachypithecus johnii)

Nilgiri langur - Nilgiri leaf monkey

  • Moved from Endangered to Vulnerable.
  • Habitat: Hilly areas of Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Threats: Habitat degradation, development activities, introduction of exotic tree species.

Great Indian one horn Rhinoceros

Great Indian one horn Rhinoceros

  • Habitat: Found only in the tall grasslands and forests in the foothills of the Himalayas (Terai region).
  • National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, Pabitora wildlife sanctuary, Manas National Park, Assam.
  • Status in the Wild: Moved from Endangered to Vulnerable.
  • Threat: Poached for its horn (in SE Asian countries it is a belief that its horn has medicinal properties), habitat loss, habitat fragmentation.

Gaur/Indian Bison

Gaur - Indian Bison

  • The gaur (Bos gaurus), also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Gaur are largely confined to evergreen forests or semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, but also occur in deciduous forest areas at the periphery of their range.
  • The domesticated form of the gaur is called gayal or mithun.
  • Threats: Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation.

Four-horned antelope, Chousingha

Four-horned antelope - Chousingha

  • The four-horned antelope must drink water regularly in order to survive.
  • Distribution: Presently it is confined to the Indian subcontinent. Scattered between the foothills of the Himalayas in the north to the Deccan Plateau in the south. Gir National Park has 1000 of these animals.
  • Threats: Loss of its natural habitat due to agricultural expansion. Four-horned skull and horns have made it a popular target for hunters.



  • Distribution: Mountainous regions in the Himalayan Mountains and western China.
  • Threats: Largely due to overhunting and the destruction of their natural habitat, takin are considered Endangered in China and Vulnerable as per the IUCN.

Nilgiri marten

Nilgiri marten

  • Endemic to the Western Ghats. Inhabits areas that are far from human disturbance.
  • Threat: habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting for its fur.
  • Only species of marten found in southern India.

Barasingha or swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii)

Barasingha or swamp deer

  • Habitat: Isolated localities in northern and central India, and southwestern Nepal.
  • Threats: Hunting for horns, habitat fragmentation and habitat loss.

Oriental small-clawed otter/ Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea)

Oriental small-clawed otter - Asian small-clawed otter

  • Semiaquatic mammals which feed on fish, amphibians, birds and small mammals.
  • It is a smallest otter species in the world.
  • Habitat: It lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands.
  • Threat: habitat loss, pollution and hunting.

Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Clouded leopard

  • Habitat: Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. They occur in northern West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
  • Threat: deforestation and poaching.

Asian black bear/ moon bear or white-chested bear (Ursus thibetanus)

Asian black bear - moon bear or white-chested bear

  • Habitat: Seen across much of the Himalayas, Korea, north-eastern China, the Russian far east and the Honshu and Shikoku islands of Japan.
  • Threats: deforestation and active hunting for its body parts.

‘Vulnerable’ Herbivorous Marine Mammals

Dugong/Sea Cow

Dugong - Sea Cow

  • Threat: hunting (meat and oil), habitat degradation, and fishing-related fatalities.
Manatees Species
  • Dugong belongs to manatees species.
  • Habitat: Indian seas (near shore waters of Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kachchh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin, and West Africa
  • Threat: Coastal development, red tide, hunting.
Q. With reference to ‘dugong’, a mammal found in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. It is an herbivorous marine animal.
  2. It is found along the entire coast of India
  3. It is given legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 3 only


  • Dugong is an herbivorous animal. It eats sea grass and aquatic plants found in shallow oceans (at depths sea grass and aquatic plants don’t grow due to absence of sunlight).
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Harming endangered (vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered) species listed in Schedule 1 of the Act is prohibited throughout India.
  • Hunting species, like those requiring special protection (Schedule II), big game (Schedule III), and small game (Schedule IV), is regulated through licensing.
  • A few species classified as vermin (Schedule V), may be hunted without restrictions.

Answer: c) 1 and 3

‘Near Threatened’ Mammals

Wild ass/ khur (Equus hemionus khur)

Wild ass - khur

  • Showed an increase in population. Moved from Endangered (2015) to Near Threatened (2019).
  • Distribution: Mostly occurs in Rann of Kutch region.
  • Population steadily increasing.
  • Today, its last refuge lies in the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch.
  • Threats: Diseases, habitat degradation due to salt activities, Invasive species Prosopis juliflora shrub, and encroachment and grazing by the Maldhari.

Q. Why is a plant called Prosopis juliflora often mentioned in news? (2018)

  1. Its extract is widely used in cosmetics.
  2. It tends to reduce the biodiversity in the area in which it grows.
  3. Its extract is used in the synthesis of pesticides.
  4. None of the above
  • Prosopis juliflora is an invasive species.

Answer: b) it reduces biodiversity

Q. A sandy and saline area is the natural habitat of an Indian animal species. The animal has no predators in that area, but its existence is threatened due to the destruction of its habitat. Which one of the following could be that animal?
  1. Indian wild buffalo
  2. Indian wild ass
  3. Indian wild boar
  4. Indian Gazelle
  • Sandy saline area ==> Kutch region.
  • Indian wild buffalo ==> Terai region.
  • Indian wild boar can survive in different types of habitat: grasslands, taiga, tropical rainforests, but they prefer life in deciduous forests.
  • Chinkara (Indian gazelle) ==> Thar desert.

Answer: b) Indian wild ass

Chiru/ Tibetan Antelope

Chiru - Tibetan Antelope

  • 2016: Tibetan antelope has been moved from Endangered to Near Threatened.
  • Habitat: Tibet cold desert.
  • Threat: The chiru is threatened by hunting for its fine wool which is used to make the shahtoosh scarves, meat, magnificent horns.

Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

Marbled cat

  • Habitat: northern India and Nepal, through south-eastern Asia to Borneo and Sumatra. In India – Sikkim, Darjeeling, moist tropical forest.
  • Threats: hunting, habitat destruction for marbled cat and its prey.

Himalayan tahr

Himalayan tahr

  • Habitat: Himalayas.
  • Threats: The major threats in China are uncontrolled hunting and deforestation. In India, Himalayan tahr is sometimes hunted for meat, and there is apparently significant competition with livestock for summer grazing in some areas.

Markhor (Capra falconeri)


  • The markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.
  • Habitat: Mountains of central Asia. In India – some parts of Jammu and Kashmir .
  • Status: Moved from endangered to Near Threatened in 2015
  • Threats: Hunting (both for meat and for its twisted horns), armed conflict and habitat loss.

Least concern

Blackbuck (Salman Khan)


  • Moved from Near Threatened to Least Concern.
  • Distribution: In the Indian subcontinent, the blackbuck can also be found in deserts (in the north western region), coastal areas, mountains (in the northern-north-eastern region) Habitat: Grass land.
  • Threat: excessive hunting for meat and sporting trophies, as well as habitat loss.

‘Not Evaluated’ Mammals

Himalayan wolf

Himalayan wolf

  • Conservation Status is ‘Not Evaluated’. Several biologists feel that it needs be in the ‘Critically Endangered List’.
  • Distribution: Trans-Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Threats – Climate Change, Prey by humans to protect their cattle.
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