Felidae is the biological family of cats and member of this family is called Felid. Big Cats Tiger, Lion, Leopard and jaguar are define this family. The only cats able to roar are come under big cats family.These “Roaring Cats” are also sometimes called as “Great Cats“. Big cats also includes cheetah, snow leopard, and cougar. The Asiatic lions or some time called Indian lion is one of the four great cats found in India, the other great cats of India are the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard and the snow leopard. There is an Cheetah reintroduction plan running by the Indian government, to bring the cheetah back to India. Seven sites in the four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh have been shortlisted as potential homes for the cheetah.The Great Indian Tigers in are a bit larger than those Panthera found in Indonesia or Bali. Check out the Stunning photos of Tiger.
The Indian lion are quit similar to African in looks, Asiatic lion are smaller and lighter but are equally aggressive as African. The habitat of the Asiatic lion is very small they survives today only in the Gir National park of Gujarat and only about 411 lions are left. About 150 yeas ago Asiatic Lion was found in large parts India along with Cheetah. Big cats of India lost their jungle habitat in India because of rising human population which almost convert their habitat area to farmlands.The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was selected to relocated the lions form Gir National Parks.The Gujarat state has been resisting the relocation, since it would make the Gir Sanctuary lose its status as the only home for big cats in India. Indian lions are highly social animals, living in small units called prides with just two or three females, these prides are smaller than Africans.Indian lions prey deer, nilgai and chinkara.
The Bengal Tiger is the largest one from the four “Roaring Cats of India”.The Bengal tiger is the second largest subspecies after the Siberian tiger, recent studies have shown that Bengal Tigers are, on average, larger than the Siberian Tigers. Tiger do not live in prides so every tiger has its own territory to live. Tiger habitats usually include dense forest area, proximity to water, and full of prey sources. Bengal Tigers live in many types of forests, including wet and evergreen jungle like Bengal, the mangrove forest of the Ganges Delta. The Royal Bengal Tiger also found in Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Bengal tigers eat a variety of animals found in their natural habitat, including deer, wild boars,water buffalo etc.The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India.India is the home for the world’s largest population of tigers.In the Big Cats dairy of India there are only 1411 Royal Bengal Tigers left as per record.Conservation efforts called “Project Tiger” is on his way to Save Bengal Tigers. Bandhavgarh national park has been an excellent habitat of tiger and is known for the highest density of tigers in the world.
White tigers have been known to inhabit many parts of East Asia and in India. The habitat range of while tiger’s in India is much reduces due to poaching. While comparing to orange tigers ,white tigers tend to be larger both at birth and at full adult size. Hundreds of white tigers are in captivity in India, and good news is that their numbers are on the increase. The nandan kanan national park is one of the park where White Tigers are found in India.
The range of leopard has decreased because of hunting and loss of habitat. There are also fragmented populations in India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, and Pakistan and because of its population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species. Compared to other members of the Felid family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar. The leopard is an agile and stealthy predator. The leopard is known for its ability in climbing, and it has been observed resting on tree branches during the day.Because of loss of habitat and continuously deforestation leopard and human interaction can occurred.Basically leopards avoid targeting humans as prey, healthy leopards prefer wild prey but injured leopard can do. Two extreme cases occurred in India, Leopard killed 125 people and another one killed more than 300 after injured by a poacher. Both the man eater leopard were killed by the hunter Jim Corbett.In India the leopard preys on deer such as chitals and muntjacs. Indian leopards are distributed all over in India. Jim Corbett National Park is the best place for Indian leopards. A variation of leopard is black leopard also known as black panther found in India.
A black panther is a large black cat, Black leopards or black panther are found at most densely forested areas of Assam and Nepal, from Travancore and other parts of southern India. Number of Black panther’s in India are very less, can be appear some time in rural area of India.
Snow leopard also know as Ounce in India. Snow leopards are the king of mountain. Snow leopard very less studied member of “The Great Cats” family. Snow leopards bodies are stocky, their fur is thick they are perfect for living in a cold mountainous environment. Its currently occupied range is poorly mapped but as per the record Snow leopard found in Himalayan regions of North India. The diet of the snow leopard varies across its range and with the time of year, and is dependent on prey availability, In the Himalayas it preys mostly wild sheep and goats and some smaller prey such as hares and birds. Population of the snow leopard was estimated 200-400 in India. Hemis National Park Ladakh is one of the conservation park for snow leopards in India. Because of disputed border with Pakistan create additional conservation challenges for snow leopard areas. Conservation programs for Snow leopard in India is supported by the native peoples as well. Photo Credit: Mike Centioli
The another felid of Himalaya is “The clouded leopard” found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland northeast India to neighbour countries. The powerful predator of hills has been classified as vulnerable with suspected to be fewer than 10,000. The smaller length felid is more beautiful in appearance with longish body and tail. The rarely seen in wild, Clouded leopards are threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation, illegal hunting.
There are 8 species of wild cats found in India, the medium-sized wild cat found in Southeastern Asia are golden cat,desert cat,spotted cat and fishing cat. These feline species are very close to fall in the category of Vulnerable due to fastest regional deforestation, hunting pressure and habitat loss.