India's Leadership in Biodiversity Conservation

First Comprehensive Fauna Checklist

India has achieved a significant milestone by creating the "Fauna of India Checklist Portal," the first comprehensive document listing the faunal species reported from the country. This checklist covers a remarkable 104,561 species and was launched by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav in Kolkata on the 109th Foundation Day of the Zoological Survey of India.

Animal Taxonomy Summit–2024

The Zoological Survey of India is set to organize the Animal Taxonomy Summit–2024, the second summit of its kind. The summit will feature deliberations under three broad themes: Taxonomy, Systematics and Evolution; Ecology and Animal Behaviour; and Biodiversity and Conservation. The event aims to convey recommendations to the Government of India for biodiversity conservation and will conclude on 3rd July 2024.

Zoological Survey of India

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established in 1916 by the British zoologist Thomas Nelson Annandale.
  • It serves as the premier taxonomic research organization in India with its headquarters located in Kolkata.
  • The main objective of ZSI is to promote surveys, exploration, and research aimed at advancing our knowledge of the rich animal life in India.
  • The genesis of ZSI can be traced back to the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.
  • Since its inception, ZSI has been actively documenting the diversity and distribution of India's fauna, conducting exploration-cum-taxonomic-research programs.
  • ZSI has published extensive information covering all animal taxa, ranging from Protozoa to Mammalia.

India's Commitment to Biodiversity Conservation

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav highlighted India's global leadership in biodiversity conservation, citing initiatives such as the "Ek Ped Maa Ke Naam" program and the International Big Cat Alliance. He also emphasized the successful relocation of cheetahs to India as an example of the country’s effective conservation efforts. Additionally, PM’s Mission LIFE, focusing on sustainable consumption and conservation, has been put forth as a model for the world, emphasizing the concept of a recycle economy.

Bird Species in India

India is home to 1,358 bird species, with 79 being endemic, found nowhere else in the world. The Western Ghats Bio-geographic zone has the highest number of these species at 28, followed by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The importance of the fauna checklist for India and its significance for several key areas:

1. Conservation and Protection: The fauna checklist for India documents all known animal species in the country and provides a crucial baseline for monitoring changes in biodiversity. It helps identify threatened or endangered species, which is essential for targeted conservation efforts.

2. Scientific Research: The detailed inventory of India's fauna serves as a valuable resource for scientists, researchers, and policymakers. It enables a better understanding of the country's ecological diversity and facilitates informed decisions related to the sustainable management of natural resources.

3. International Leadership: India's initiative in preparing a comprehensive national-level checklist of its entire fauna sets it apart as a global leader in biodiversity documentation and conservation. This move positions India as an example for other countries to follow in this regard.

4. Informing Policy and Planning: The fauna checklist will play a pivotal role in helping the government develop more effective policies and programs for wildlife protection, habitat preservation, and environmental management across India.

Question from UPSC Prelims 2020 GS Paper

Q. With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith barbet, Gray-chinned miniyet and White-throated redstart are

a) Birds
b) Primates
c) Reptiles
d) Amphibians

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