India is home to iconic wildlife like tigers, dholes and even lions, as well as many species found nowhere else in the world.
But they share the subcontinent with the world’s second-largest human population – and as India’s 1.3 billion people vie for space with wilderness, wilderness has often lost out.
Such is the case in the Nilgiris District of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Once covered in a mosaic of montane forest and grassland, the Nilgiris was transformed into a land of plantations over the past two centuries.
But now, efforts are underway to restore the landscape to its native state.
Stretching 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) along India’s western coast from the state of Tamil Nadu at the subcontinent’s southern tip north to Maharashtra, the Western Ghats mountain range is considered as one of the most biodiverse places in the world and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The range is home to thousands of different plants and animals, and is also host to a high level of endemism – meaning that many of species that live there are found nowhere else.