Wild Animals of Central India & Conservation Status

by pateluday

This is an article on the wildlife of Madhya Pradesh. This article intends to deliver introductory information on mammals and reptiles found here and conservation in the State.

The State of Madhya Pradesh also known as Central India is heavily forested albeit the cover has declined at many places. The perfect ecosystems are found in the Protected Areas of the State. Also known as MP, the wild mammals found here inhabit the protected areas and are found very rarely outside of them.

With constant conservation efforts by the State Government, the PAs have seen a rise in the population of herbivores and carnivores. At many places especially in the reserved forests, the conservation efforts are negligible and the mammalian population is completely decimated although there are exceptions

Among the herbivores, both the deer species and antelopes are found in the State. The tiger population in comparison with other states is very high and hence MP is known as the tiger state.

Tree Shrew Photo

Indian Tree Shrew
Indian Tree Shrew
Jagat Flora

List of Mammals of Madhya Pradesh

Major mammals found in jHanuman Langursungles of Central India are listed below:

  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Wild Dog
  • Indian Wolf
  • Jackal
  • Fox
  • Hyena
  • Jungle Cat
  • Wild Boar
  • Sloth Bear
  • Elephant
  • Gaur
  • Nilgai
  • Black Buck
  • Sambar Deer
  • Swamp Deer
  • Spotted Deer
  • Barking Deer
  • Four Horned Antelope
  • Mouse Deer
  • Chinkara
  • Rhesus Macaque
  • Hanuman Langur
  • Wild Buffalo
  • Palm Squirrel
  • Pangolin
  • Civet Cats
  • Ruddy Mongoose
  • Rusty Spotted Cat
  • Tree Shrews

A large number of bats are also found in MP.




Indian Gazzele or Chinkara
Indian Gazzele or Chinkara
Teerath Singh


Big Cats

TigerPantherMajor Carnivores are tigers and leopards classified as tertiary carnivores in the food chain. They are nocturnal hunters and their prey base constitutes herbivores and livestock.  Tigers keep to dense forests hence are found in reserves with good crown cover. Leopards are more adaptable and inhabit human surroundings beside the dense forests. The tiger is being conserved under the Project Tiger Program in India but very little protection is granted to the leopard.

The carnivores keep the herbivore population in check they are active in maintaining an equilibrium in the food chain.

The third big cat will be introduced at Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary from the Gir Forests of Gujarat. The Asiatic Lion unlike the tiger and panther is a gregarious animal that was once found in Madhya Pradesh in India.  

Tiger Photo

Jagat Flora


Spotted DeerThe herbivores constitute many species but the major ones are:

  • Swamp Deer
  • Sambar
  • Chital
  • Muntjac
  • Four Horned Antelope
  • Chinkara
  • Nilgai
  • Black Buck
  • Wild Boar
  • Swamp Deer
  • Langur
  • Black Buck
  • Gaur
  • Sloth Bear

The herbivores are grazers and help control the population of producers in the food chain. They play a major role in the ecosystem and constitute a prey base for many carnivores. They are classified as grazers and coarse feeders. The Chinkara, Nilgai, and Black Buck are antelopes and prefer scrub, grasslands, and arid zones.

The wild boar once abundant is an omnivorous animal but a major portion of the diet is vegetative matter. It feeds on carrion as well. Sloth Bear is an omnivorous animal but a major portion of its diet is a vegetative matter as wellHanuman Langurs.

The Gaur or Bison is a coarse feeder and is found only in the protected areas of MP.   The Hard  Ground Swamp Deer is the only race of its kind in the World and is limited to Kanha Tiger Reserve. It was saved from certain extinction by groundbreaking research by George Schaller et.al. Today more than five hundred of these animals survive in Kanha Forests.

Indian Wildlife Video

Swamp Deer Photo

Swamp Deer
Swamp Deer
Jagat Flora

Small Carnivores

JackalThe jackal tops the list in being most active, highly vocal, and visible. It is a carrion eater but a pack kills small deer and fawns. The fox is very elusive and highly nocturnal very little is known about it. The wild dog is a pack hunter and most charismatic. It is a local migrants and rarely sticks to one place. Its main prey is the spotted deer.  

The Hyena is a scavenger and prefer open country to dense forests. The Indian wolf is an expert hunter in India they live in open scrub land and hunt in pairs or small group. They are severely endangered in MP and are regulatory persecuted. The jungle cats, civets and mongoose control populations of small life forms.

These carnivores maintain balance in populations of various herbivores as secondary consumers. They pay a crucial role and should not be neglected. Earlier most of these animals have been classified as vermin and shot to near extinction.  

Wild Dog Photo

Teerath Singh

Reptiles of Madhya Pradesh

Russel's ViperCrocodileMP State is home to many reptiles of which marsh crocodile, gharial, and monitor lizards are popular among nature lovers.   These major reptiles can be seen in Chambal and Ken River Sanctuaries.

There are hundreds of varieties of snakes and tortoises in rivers and dense forests. Some of the poisonous snakes are Cobra, Krait, and Viper the rest are nonpoisonous.

Many varieties of turtles and tortoises can be seen in and around the water bodies and river systems. Python is a common snake and can be seen in the tiger reserves with some luck.


The protected areas in Madhya Pradesh are notified as National Parks, Tiger Reserves, and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The first two provide protection to the maximum degree. Some translocation programs in the case of tiger and gaur have been very successful.   Tigers have been sent to Panna National  Park from other reserves where they are breeding successfully.  Similarly, Gaurs have been translocated from Kanha to Bandhavgarh and the program has been successful. 

In tiger reserves and sanctuaries, human encroachment is a major problem and many villages have yet to be trans-located.  

Wildlife Health and Disease Management are crucial for the survival of species and the Veterinary University in Jabalpur is doing a great job.

Another aspect of conservation is to increase natural habitats and bring them under protection. This is not being done on large scale, nevertheless, efforts are on.

Public participation is necessary in order to conserve wildlife in MP. greater efforts should be made in this regard.

Wild animals are seen and understood on tiger safari tours in the Indian reserves. These tours are the best means of creating awareness among the masses besides education.   

Jackal Photo

Indian Jackal
Indian Jackal
John Matthai

Map of Madhya Pradesh

Indian animal posters

Female Indian Tiger at Samba Deer Kill, Bandhavgarh National Park, India
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Updated: 07/14/2021, pateluday
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pateluday on 04/08/2021

Pet Keeping and demand of animal parts is a major threat to wildlife all over the World. Tigers are critically endangered and they are an indicator species. Unfortunately common leopard in is receiving less attention in spite of being in the middle of man animal conflict. Wolves too need a strong conservation impetus in India. They are too at the center of man animal conflict and persecuted here and there in India and very few survive now.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/08/2021

pateluday, Thank you for the practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
India historically and presently displays such respect for animals that it intrigues me that leopards receive less conservation attention than tigers. Is it a question of prioritizing tigers because they're better known and less adaptable (and therefore inspire tourist pressure and suggest greater need) or because of budgetary constraints?
The other information that intrigues me is wolves being regularly persecuted. I love nature but generally prefer wolves to coyotes, hyenas and jackals.
Hunters this year killed 200-plus wolves within three days in Wisconsin, a state with far more coyote and wild dog than wolf problems.
in the United States, wolf body parts such as claws, coats, ears, tails and teeth and their meat warrant higher prices than coyotes, hyenas, jackals and wild dogs.
What would make wolves be more persecuted than hyenas, jackals and wild dogs in India?

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