cats, bears and giants
Asian elephants form a significant part of Indian history and play a major role in ways of life here, with most temples being related to them in one way or another. Shorter than their African counterparts, they also have smaller ears and a more arched back. Sightings are best in Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand or the southern state of Kerala Whilst in Kaziranga National Park you may encounter the prehistoric-looking Indian rhino, also known as the greater one-horned rhino, now limited to around 3,500 in number.
Sasan Gir National Park in the west of the country is the only place in the world where you can Asiatic lions in the wild. This subspecies is has been increasing in number for decades now and has been one of India's greatest conservation success stories. Slightly smaller and darker in colour than their African cousins, Asiatic lions have a scruffy appearance that will endear them to any wildlife enthusiast.
In the north, during the winter, the snow leopards of India descend from the mountains in search of food. At this time it is possible to spot this elusive creature in its natural habitat, as well as other animals such as blue sheep and ibex. Solitary, elusive and incredibly hard to study, these remarkable felines make for once-in-a-lifetime sightings among the Himalayas.
Sloth bears have a patchy but widespread distribution in India, and are found mainly in areas with dense forest cover like Ranthambore National Park Compared to the brown and black bears found throughout Eurasia and North America, sloth bears are lankier, shaggier and can be easily identified by their fluffy mane as well as their long, sickle-like claws and elongated lower lip, which they use to hunt for insects.