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Animal Planet explores the diverse wildlife of India in ‘Wild Encounters’

'India: Wild Encounters' airs every Sunday at 8 pm this December

Animal Planet explores the diverse wildlife of India in ‘Wild Encounters’

'India: Wild Encounters' airs every Sunday at 8 pm this December

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | December 20, 2012

This December, Animal Planet celebrates the wildlife of India with India: Wild Encounters.  From Ranthambhore to the Western Ghats, the series India: Wild Encounters seeks encounters with India's wildest and rarest animal species like the fabled Bengal Tiger, the wild dogs (dholes), the rare Asiatic Lion and many more. Viewers meet some fascinating people and track animals that make any visit to India such a rich experience. Travel with wildlife explorers - Jeff Corwin, Austin Stevens and Dave Salmoni as they set out on their adventures to learn more about the wild animals of the country.

India: Wild Encounters airs every Sunday at 8 pm on Animal Planet.

In the episode, Shola- India's Jungle of Rain, renowned wildlife filmmaker Shekhar Dattatri captures the India’s ancient mountain range the Western Ghats - which is a hub of fire ants, elephants, pythons, giant squirrels and wild cattle.  Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, India’s Wild Dogs travels to Khana National Park to follow the lives of unique pack of dogs – the dholes who share the same jungle space as elephants.  The series also covers the exotic stories on survival of black bear; the ibex and the snow leopard from the treacherous slopes of the world's highest mountain range - the Himalayas.

Highlights from India: Wild Encounters

Shola: India’s Jungle of Rain

Shola forests are found in the higher altitude hill regions of the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari district, the Western Ghats and associated ranges in the states of KarnatakaKerala and Tamil Nadu. Although generally said to occur above 2000 meters above sea level, shola forests can be found at 1600 meters elevation in many hill ranges. The Western Ghats are one of the globally recognised biodiversity hotspots. Among the many larger animals inhabiting a shola-grassland mosaic are tigers and leopardselephants and gaur. The endangered Nilgiri Tahr (an Asian goat-antelope) is endemic to the shola-grassland, and its range is now restricted to a 400-km stretch of shola-grassland mosaic, from the Nilgiri Hills to the Agasthyamalai Hills. Shekhar Dattatri, famous wild life documentary maker, will be directing this special episode on Shola jungle.

Mountains of God

The Himalayas in Hindu tradition are much more than a majestic mountain range that extends in a 2,410-km curve across South Asia. To the Hindus this great grandfather-like figure has always been an abode of gods. So they referred to the Himalayas as devatma or God-souled. This episode shows how the brown and black bear, the ibex and the snow leopard survive the treacherous slopes of the world's highest mountain range - the Himalayas.  Viewers also follow the bearded vulture's progress from the snowy wastes of Pakistan to the high alpine meadows of Bhutan.

King Cobra

The king cobra is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 5.6 m (18.5 ft.). This species, which preys chiefly on other snakes, is found predominantly in forests from India. King cobras are able to hunt throughout the day, although it is rarely seen at night, leading most herpetologists to classify it as a diurnal species. They can also inject enough neurotoxic venom in a single bite to kill more than 20 men.

India’s Wild Dogs

The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Unlike most social canids (but similar to African wild dogs), dholes let their pups eat first at a kill. Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boarwater buffalo, and even tigers.

The Himalyan Ibex

A big male will stand 40 inches (102 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 200 pounds (91 kg). Coat is thick and woolly in winter, being shed in early summer. Color is very variable, ranging from pale brown to dark brown, with a darker dorsal stripe and often a lighter saddle patch and whitish neck patch. Generally darker in summer than in winter, it is found in both sides of the western Himalayas from Chitral in Pakistan, eastward to Leh and the upper Shyok River in Ladakh, and southeastward to the upper Sutlej River in northern India.

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