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India Becomes First Nation To Prepare Full List of Fauna

The Fauna of India Checklist Portal is the first comprehensive document on the faunal species reported from India. India has become the first country in the world to prepare a checklist of its entire fauna, covering 104,561 species. The ‘Fauna of India Checklist Portal’ was launched on the occasion of the 109th Foundation Day of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Kolkata on Sunday by Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav.

Global champion in biodiversity conservation

“India is a global champion in biodiversity conservation,” Yadav said, referencing the “Ek Ped Maa Ke Naam” initiative as a testament to the country’s dedication to environmental preservation. This program was one of the first major initiatives undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his re-election. Additionally, Yadav highlighted other government initiatives aimed at preserving biodiversity, such as the International Big Cat Alliance. He pointed to the successful relocation of cheetahs to India as an example of the country’s effective conservation efforts.

Bird species in India

Among the 1,358 bird species present in India, there are 79 that are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. The Western Ghats Bio-geographic zone has the highest number of these species at 28, with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands being the next most important area for endemism.

List of the states and number of species

Category Region Number of Species
Total Mammalian Species in India 455
Highest Mammalian Diversity Meghalaya 163
West Bengal 161
Arunachal Pradesh 142
Tamil Nadu 139
Assam 138
Sikkim 137
Kerala 134
Union Territories with High Mammalian Diversity Andaman & Nicobar Islands 68
Ladakh 59
Delhi 38
High Endemism Tamil Nadu 23
Karnataka 19
Kerala 19
High Endemism Regions Western Ghats hill streams of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Monotypic Genera Anathana (Madras Treeshrew) Found only in India
Latidens (Salim Ali’s fruit bat) Found only in India
Nilgiritragus Found only in India
Rare Megabat Species Latidens salimalii (Salim Ali’s fruit bat) Monotypic genus Latidens

The comprehensive fauna checklist is important for several reasons

  1. Conservation and protection: By documenting all known animal species in India, this list provides a baseline to track changes in biodiversity and identify threatened or endangered species that require targeted conservation efforts.
  2. Scientific research: The detailed inventory of India’s fauna will serve as an invaluable resource for scientists, researchers, and policymakers to better understand the country’s rich ecological diversity and make informed decisions about sustainable management of natural resources.
  3. International leadership: India is the first country in the world to prepare such a comprehensive national-level checklist of its entire fauna. This positions India as a global leader in biodiversity documentation and conservation, setting an example for other countries to follow.
  4. Informing policy and planning: The fauna checklist will help the government develop more effective policies and programs for wildlife protection, habitat preservation, and environmental management across India.

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