Andhra Pradesh’s undulating terrain, deep forests, valleys, cliffs and the two largest rivers-Krishna and Godavari- flowing through the state make it a region rich in biodiversity that has evolved as a natural habitat for wildlife. Step into the wild side of heritage and explore Andhra’s wonderful fauna including wild boars, hyenas, langurs, jackals and more found across sanctuaries and national parks such as the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Srisailam, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary near Kakinada, Sri Venkateshwara National Park in Tirupati, and Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary close to Chittor. A few that top the list are here.

TIGER

These magnificent big cats have become more visible in Andhra Pradesh thanks to conservation efforts by the government through reserves, like Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, also India’s largest tiger reserve. Primarily preying on deer and bovids, tigers are territorial and solitary but sociable creatures at the same time.

 

ASIAN ELEPHANTS

A highly-endangered species due to illegal poaching, loss of habitat and fragmentation, Asian elephants play a critical role in maintaining the region’s forests. Smaller than African elephants they can weigh up to 5 tonnes, and can be identified by smaller, rounder ears. You can spot them at the Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, near Chittor that is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian elephants that migrated 200 years ago.

 

LEOPARD

Another one in the family of ‘big cats’ the leopard can be differentiated by rosettes on its fur making for a well-camouflaged body. The leopard is known for opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet and strength used to carry heavy carcasses to tree tops. Head to the Coringa or Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to spot these cats.

 

SLOTH BEAR

Lankier than brown and black bears, sloth bears have long shaggy coats forming a mane around its neck, and white claws. Though they may appear slow and clumsy, both young and adult bears are excellent climbers. Watch them in action at the Coringa or Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

SAMBAR DEER

This large deer native to the Indian sub-continent stands out in the wild with its rugged antlers. Nocturnal and crepuscular, the males live alone for most of the year, while females live in small herds of up to 16. Go to Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary to watch these creatures.

 

SPOTTED DEER

Golden with white spots, the spotted deer’s antlers are three-pronged and nearly one -meter long. They usually move in a single file on a track, with a distance of two-three times their width between them, usually while foraging for food and water and can be seen at Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.