Though it covers less than 6% of the land area of India, the Western Ghats contain more than 30% of all species of plant, fish, reptile, amphibian, bird and mammal found in the whole country. It has particularly impressive populations of large mammals – for instance around 30% of all Asian elephants and approximately 25% of the world’s wild tigers, spread across a number of wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves and national parks. Eleven out of 50 tiger reserves in India are situated in the Western Ghats.
The hills of this landscape run down the western side of India parallel to the west coast for about 1,600km and spreads over 140, 000 km2 covering six states from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu. The area is also the source of a lot of the rivers that supply water to approximately 245 million people. The growing numbers of people living in and around the Western Ghats has led to loss of living space for wildlife, and poaching and infrastructure development also threaten wild tiger populations here.
Since the early 1990s, WWF has been engaged in the protection of the Western Ghats. Our main focus now is to assess the status of key species like the tiger, even outside of protected areas, as well as to maintain a strong relationship with involved parties to secure wildlife corridors and promote sustainable livelihoods. This includes ongoing discussions with the state and local government authorities, civil society organizations and local communities.