In the northern part of the range
, about one-third of the plants, almost half the reptiles, and more than three-fourths of the amphibians known in India are found in this narrow strip of rainforest just off the west coast.
The forests in the southwestern Ghats
are even richer, hosting the country’s largest population of Asian elephants
) as well as Bengal tigers
(Panthera tigris tigris
), lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus
), sloth bears (Ursus ursinus
), nilgiri tahrs (Hemitragus hylocrius
) and much more.
The Western Ghats were once covered in dense forests. Today, a large part of the range has been logged or converted to agricultural land for tea, coffee, rubber and oil palm, or cleared for livestock grazing, reservoirs and roads.
The growth of populations around protected areas and other forests has also led to habitat destruction, increased fragmentation, wildlife poaching and human-wildlife conflict