Living Amongst Survivors

Nature in the Western Ghats

One of the Wonders of the World

Would you believe us if we said that a place existed in India as lush, beautiful, and teeming with wildlife as the Amazon? More than 100 million years old, it’s called the Western Ghats. Filled with mountains that run for almost 1,000 miles along India’s west coast, The Ghats contain one third of the country’s species. These wild creatures make their homes in its snowy peaks, tropical rainforests, grasslands, meadows, and wetlands.

Many have never been seen before. From ancient trees to dancing frogs to elephants, a vast number are evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE). Our YouTube miniseries and mobile games give everyone a chance to experience the Western Ghats and its incredible diversity. By shining a spotlight on it, we hope to conserve this truly wondrous EDGE Zone.

YouTube Miniseries

Partnering with Indian documentary maker Nature in Focus, we created a miniseries that tells stories of the Western Ghats. Each short, fast-paced episode introduces its EDGE inhabitants and their primeval landscapes, as all struggle to survive in a changing world.

Western Ghats

Featured Species

With literally hundreds of incredible species, many native and found only in the Western Ghats, it’s a tough call deciding who gets our attention. Each species is amazing and memorable in its own right, and bound to have you wanting to discover more.

Indian Elephant

Wildlife in the Western Ghats comes in all sizes. On the heavier side are Indian elephants, many of whom live around Valparai. Once just rainforest, Valparai’s landscape is dotted with plantations, buildings, and roads. Can all its inhabitants live together peacefully? They’re working on it…

Myristica Swamp

Why should city dwellers care about a swamp? Whoever heard of ‘intelligent’ trees? Introducing Myristica, whose fragments date back to the Jurassic. Here, you’ll find trees with stilts and a wet world beloved by frogs. Oh, and they’re great for people, too!

Great Hornbill

If you see a Great Hornbill, you’ll know it! These sizeable style divas with their bright yellow bills and black-and-white bodies are hard to miss. They love old-growth rainforests – and the forests love them back. Something to do with their soft spot for figs and other fruity treats.

Laughing Thrush

Survival is no laughing matter for this Shola grasslands native. As its habitat in the southern Western Ghats disappears, this beautiful bird with its striking plumage is seeking out new places to feed itself – and rather dubious sources of nourishment.

The Purple Frog

Known as a ‘living fossil’, this critter’s been around since the dinosaurs! With a snout like a frog’s and a squawk like a chicken’s, it’s certainly original. You’re unlikely to see one because the purple frog lives underground – emerging one day a year for the serious business of breeding.

Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle

One of the largest soft-shell turtles in the world, this mysterious freshwater lover has a unique ability to survive in marine environments. It’s an EDGE species that few know about, but an alert network means local communities are helping efforts to conserve it.

Nilgiri Marten

Nilgiri martens are rarely glimpsed, even by locals passing through their favoured southern Indian haunts. Those that do often mistake these gorgeous yellowy orange-throated mammals for giant squirrels! Being elusive also means they’re tough ones for conservationists to protect. Still, that doesn’t stop them trying.

Salim Ali's Fruit Bat

What’s so special about a fruit bat? Well, like its relatives, Salim Ali’s bat is part of the world’s only flying mammal family. It’s also so rare that it’s only found in the High Wavy Mountains where it’s a vital seed disperser: the surrounding rainforest depends on it.

Local Partnerships

Nature inFocus

We’ve created this eight-part mini-documentary series that brings to life the incredible variety of life in the Western Ghats in collaboration with Nature inFocus, Asia’s premier nature and wildlife festival and a platform for passionate nature and wildlife photographers.

Nature Conservation Foundation

Human impact on wildlife and habitats, biological surveys, and ecological restoration are all part of NCF’s work in the Western Ghats. Learn how we’re supporting their efforts to increase awareness of EDGE species and create new partnerships to protect them.

National Centre for Biological Sciences

Filling gaps in conservation information is crucial when it comes to helping Endangered species. Our partnership with NCBS will ensure more knowledge of, and attention for, EDGE species – and kick-start the careers of six recently qualified conservationists!