EnvironmentFlora and FaunaOpinion PieceWildlife


Meera Bhardwaj:

Many endemic species of Andaman & Nicobar Islands are facing serious threat due to habitat destruction and poaching. For instance, the Andaman Teals (in the picture above) have now been listed as vulnerable under the IUCN List due to threat to its habitat and narrow distribution.

Compared to the Indian mainland, the list of the threatened species is pretty long. Not just birds but even reptiles, marine and mammalian species like dugongs, spiny shrew, horseshoe bat, salt water crocodiles, whales, dolphins, marine turtles, seas shells are either endangered, threatened or vulnerable.

Further, as per the IUCN Red list, out of the 25 bird species of A & N Islands that are threatened, 19 are endemic to these unique islands.

Presently, the Vulnerable and Threatened bird species of the Andaman Islands include: Andaman teal, Andaman crake, Andaman Sparrow Hawk, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Drongo, Andaman Woodpecker and nine other species.

As per research studies, for instance, the wood pigeon – an uncommon bird, is potentially threatened by extensive hunting and trapping by local communities, habitat loss and fragmentation.  

Added to this, the growing human population on the larger islands of Andaman has further posed some key threats to bird species.

This is due to pressure from agriculture, grazing, habitat conversion and degradation from logging.

Apart from this, linear structures and expansion of unsustainable tourism and infrastructure projects have added to the problem for the very survival of endemic bird species in Andaman Islands.

Conversion and diversion of the unique mangrove forest habitat is a serious challenge wherein many endemic species thrive.

Some of the endemic species include the Dugong, Andaman spiny shrew, Andaman wild pig, Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Day Gecko, and many unique, rare plant species.

According to Andaman Forest authorities, the 20 restricted range species of Andaman Islands that have been identified include – Andaman teal, wood pigeon, cuckoo dove, green pigeon, Drongo, Cuckoo-shrike, bulbul and others.

To give protection to these species:

19 sites have been identified and declared as important bird areas (IBA) in the A & N islands.

However, much more needs to be done to protect the endemic bird species which are found only in these islands.


Andaman (a group of 572 islands), comprises the most important islands of North Andaman, South Andaman, Little Andaman and Middle Andaman. It also has the maximum number of PAs in the country – 96 wildlife sanctuaries and 9 national parks.