100 years of Zoological Survey of India

: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has drawn a year-long plan for its centenary year.

The organisation, which completed 100 years on Wednesday, will unveil sculptures and hold discussions with the aim of generating awareness on conservation of fauna.

As the institution gears up to celebrate the 100th anniversary, it is looking into fresh technologies and areas such as DNA bar coding and geo-referencing of species based on the geographical information system to protect the country’s wildlife.

“India is a mega bio-diversity country possessing eight per cent of the world’s fauna. So far we have identified 50 per cent of the fauna in the country. Now we will have to search in more difficult areas and marine ecosystem,” K Ventakaraman, director of Zoological Survey of India, told The Hindu . Many publications will be unveiled during the period.

The premier scientific and taxonomy institution, headquartered in Kolkata, started its centenary celebrating with the scientists, employees and well wishers associated with the organisation.

Many participated in a run organised by the ZSI from the Asiatic Society, where ZSI started in 1916 with four persons, to the institution’s headquarters.

In last 100 years, the national organisation has emerged as a repository of knowledge with 4.5 million specimen of animals and 97,000 species of which 5,000 are new to science.

Mr Venkatraman said that after decades of survey and identification of major fauna in the country, the recent discoveries by scientists are the rarest of rare species found in the extremely small habitat. Referring to the Biological Diversity Act, Mr Venkataraman said that the legislation provides a sovereign right over all the biodiversity available in the country.

“To establish our right over the biodiversity we have to do the DNA bar coding. For instance, the shark soup served in Singapore or in America can be easily located through DNA bar coding to check whether the animal belongs to India,” he added.

Explaining the significance GIS mapping of species, scientists said that this can point out where a particular species is found “temporal and spatially”. “The ZSI will have baseline data for climate change and we have made several permanent monitoring plots in Sunderbans, Andamans and Nicobar and in Malvan coast,” Mr Venkataraman said.

Along with digitisation of all the data of species and specimens, the ZSI is also talking of restoration of certain ecosystem, for instance the coral reefs of Gulf of Kutch that have been lost over years.

Plans to generate awareness on conservation of fauna

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 4:09:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/100-years-of-zoological-survey-of-india/article7376303.ece

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