Visit our new pages exploring the Western Ghats, a unique mountain range that stretches down the western edge of India. This monsoon drenched habitat is home to an astonishing array of flora and fauna, harbouring more than 30 percent of India’s mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species.
Supported by HSBC as part of their HSBC Climate Partnership, ARKive’s new Western Ghats eco-region pages feature spectacular images and videos of the various habitats found within the region, as well as information about the threats its faces and the conservation projects that have been established to protect it.
Although most of the Western Ghats appear more like rolling hills than craggy snow-covered peaks, parts of it do reach over 2,000 metres, causing it to intercept the south-western monsoon winds. Consequently, an astounding two to eight metres of rain drench the Western Ghats each year which is one of the main reasons why it has such a rich variety of vegetation types.
The incredible variety in vegetation types gives rise to an amazing diversity of fauna including the striking lion-tailed macaque, one of the smallest and most endangered of the macaque species, which is endemic to the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.
The Nilgiri tahr, an endemic goat antelope, is another curious species that lives in a very different habitat in the Western Ghats. It occurs high up in the mountains, on cliff faces and grassy plateaus.
Around 120 mammal species have been recorded in the Western Ghats. This remarkable diversity includes, perhaps most notably, the world’s largest population of Asian elephants and ten percent of the world’s tigers.
Equally as intriguing are the 117 amphibian species found in the Western Ghats, of which 89 are endemic. The unusual-looking purple frog was only recently discovered in the southern Western Ghats, and represents an entirely new genus.
Over 5,000 different plants occur in the Western Ghats, and around 1,700 of these are found nowhere else in the world. This includes the wild relatives of many economically important species, such as grains, spices and fruits like the mango.
Why does the Western Ghats need our help?
This diverse biological haven is under tremendous pressure from a variety of human activities. Only a third of the Western Ghats still clings to its natural vegetation, and those remaining forests are highly fragmented and face the threat of increasing degradation. It’s not hard to see why the region is a biodiversity hotspot and why it is so important that it’s future is protected.
Visit our Western Ghats pages to discover more of region’s stunning species and striking habitats.