Complete list of faunal species in India to be unveiled by ZSI on June 29

Complete list of faunal species in India to be unveiled by ZSI on June 29

Kolkata | A complete list of the faunal species, discovered and documented in the country, will be published digitally on June 29, Zoological Survey of India, Director, Dhriti Banerjee said on Wednesday.

The list, called 'Fauna of India Checklist' will shed light on the faunal diversity of our country, she said.

The ZSI director claimed that India will be the first country in the world to have compiled such a databank.

Banerjee told a press meet that Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav will launch the portal which will be an exhaustive and voluminous database.

Dwelling on the importance of the faunal species hunt and the role of every creature in the planet in saving the eco-system, she said "In India, we continue the hunt and on an average 300 new species are discovered every year."

"This is unlike most countries in Europe where scientists have to go to outside their homeland – say to other places like Costa Rica – to come across new faunal resources as few countries boast of such diversity in fauna as well as flora like India," she added.

Banerjee said documenting a new species is akin to preparing the Aadhaar card of a person in the country – like the Aadhaar card details the database will contain the name of the creature, the date and year when it was discovered (like the date of birth of an individual), from where it was discovered (residence address) and name of the discoverer (name of parent).

Underscoring the importance of saving each species in the ecosystem, she cautioned against indiscriminate use of pesticides to kill insects which play an important role.

"Had there been no bees how would cross-pollination of pollen grains would have been possible? How would vegetables, and crops grow? Insects play a crucial role in continuing the food chain. Imagine the cost of rice, potato, etc if humans would have to do it manually," she said.

The Zoological Survey of India has collaborated with Natural History Museum, London and plans to approach other museums to trace missing links of certain faunal species which could not been fully documented in its exhaustive 'checklist' for chronicling every species, including insects, Banerjee said.

The ZSI director said while most of the species had been catalogued, it had been found that there had been missing links in around 2,000 hampering the drive to document their origin and evolution in its entirety.

"We are establishing contacts with other museums to find the missing ones. Already we have an arrangement with Natural History Museum, London. Our representatives had gone there and digitally catalogued other species lying with them," she said.

"We are trying to figure out the continuity of it to get a complete picture. Similarly, our team will be visiting some museums across the world," she said.

The ZSI director told PTI, that the ZSI is having talks with Berlin Museum and Smithsonian Institution, US for similar initiative aimed at digitizing the species to get a whole and comprehensive picture of the origin, growth and history of the species.

To a question, she said the entire exercise was expected to be over in a span of five years.

She said as part of the drive to save Mother Earth, the ZSI will distribute saplings to each participant of its future programme and a tag on which his/her mother's name will be scribbled and the participant will take every care to save the plant by watering and taking every step for its upkeep.

"This drive to create more greeneries in your area is being undertaken with the help of the forest department which itself had undertaken such a drive on environment day in past, she added.

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