A pack of dhole on the prowl in a tea plantation near Valparai, Tamil Nadu.
The Western Ghats hill range in India contains spectacular landscapes and an incredible array of wild species, many found nowhere else in the world. One among the world’s 34 most biologically diverse “hotspots”, the region has representation of a wide variety of natural ecosystems from grasslands and dry forests to rainforests, rivers, and streams, threatened by a multitude of human activities such as industrialisation, agriculture, grazing, hunting, deforestation, fragmentation, and degradation. Today, rainforests in the Western Ghats occur largely as fragments within a landscape matrix dominated by commercial plantations of tea, coffee, and other cash crops.
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Wildlife -- even large mammals like leopards, tigers, sloth bear, wild dog and elephants -- still survive in rainforest fragments including private plantations. This may be due to proximity of surrounding large tract of reserved forest areas as well as recent conservation efforts, including reduction of hunting, restoration and protection of fragments.