India’s rich heritage is evident not only in her vast cultural expanse but also in her plethora of wildlife. Being the seventh largest country in the world, India has a variety of geographical zones with at least three major biodiversity hotspots. It is also one of the 17 mega-diverse countries of the world.
In India’s wild and untamed part I we saw two stamps out of a set of four commemorating the untamed wildlife of India. Now let’s see the other two stamps.
Swamp Deer: Also known as “Barasingha” these Swamp Deer are widely found in the Indian Subcontinent. Its distinctive antlers have more than 3 tines and some of the deer are found to have as many as 20 tines, hence the name “barasingha” meaning “twelve-tined”. A ‘Vulnerable’ species of India, swamp deer are mostly found along the base of the Himalayas from Upper Assam, a few places in the Indo-Gangetic plain and the area between the Ganges and Godavari. These herbivores are threatened by poaching for antlers and meat, depleting wetlands and illegal farming. This exotic animal of India has also made an appearance in Kipling’s “The Second Jungle Book” and is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. A stamp with the face value of Re. 0.25 commemorates Swamp deer. Indian wild cat: The Caracal: The caracal is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa, central Asia, Middle East and India. Though listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List it is fast approaching extinction in India. Conflicts with humans over the livestock, rapidly depleting natural habitat and advancing deserts are major factors that endanger this secretive and difficult to observe cat. Even though the caracal is typically active during the night time, its daytime activities can easily go unnoticed because of its perfect camouflage. As a carnivore, the caracal preys upon small mammals, birds and rodents. The average lifespan of a caracal in the wild is around twelve years and seventeen in captivity. Caracals had appeared in Indian paintings dating back to the seventeenth century and were also tamed and used for hunting in ancient Egypt until the 20th century.
Image Courtesy: Mintage World