India prepares checklist of entire 1,04,561 fauna species

 Kolkata, July 1: India has become the first country to prepare a checklist of its entire 104,561 fauna species, and become a global leader in biodiversity documentation, said Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

Launching the Fauna of India Checklist Portal to mark the 109th Foundation Day of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Kolkata on Sunday, the Minister said, “This is the first comprehensive document on the faunal species reported from India. The portal will be an invaluable reference for taxonomists, researchers, academicians, conservation managers, and policymakers.”

“The portal comprises 121 checklists of all known taxa covering 36 phyla,” he said, adding that the list includes “endemic, threatened, and scheduled species”. The checklist showcased about 455 mammalian species in India. Meghalaya (163 species) reported the highest number of species while Kerala (134) reported the lowest. Among the Union Territories, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (68), Ladakh (59), and Delhi (38) have the highest mammalian diversity. About 52 mammal species were listed as endemic to India of which Tamil Nadu (23 species), Karnataka (19), and Kerala (19) have the highest presence.

The list also includes 1,358 bird species, of which 79 have been listed as endemic. Meanwhile, the Minister also inaugurated the three-day summit, Animal Taxonomy Summit-2024, organised by the Zoological Survey of India, besides releasing an iconic publication of ZSI, ‘Animal Discoveries-2023’. The book reveals that India added 641 new animal species in 2023, including 442 entirely new species and 199 species which have been newly recorded in the country. It also added 339 new plant species.