Vanishing wildlife: 22 species have gone extinct in India

Ministry lists habitat degradation as one of the causes

July 27, 2019 10:16 pm | Updated July 30, 2019 06:51 pm IST - Kolkata

A female Asiatic Cheetah named 'Dalbar' walks in an enclosure at the Pardisan Park in  Tehran on October 10, 2017.
Iranian environmentalists have mobilised to protect the world's last Asiatic cheetahs, estimated to number just 50 and faced with the threats of becoming roadkill, a shortage of prey and farmers' dogs.  / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE

A female Asiatic Cheetah named 'Dalbar' walks in an enclosure at the Pardisan Park in Tehran on October 10, 2017. Iranian environmentalists have mobilised to protect the world's last Asiatic cheetahs, estimated to number just 50 and faced with the threats of becoming roadkill, a shortage of prey and farmers' dogs. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE

Four species of fauna and 18 species of flora have gone extinct in India in the past few centuries, according to wildlife survey organisations.

The data was tabled earlier this month in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

A.A. Mao, Director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) said India is home to 11.5% of all flora in the world. According to the International Union for Conservation Of Nature, a new study has shown that since 1750, more than double the number of plants have disappeared from the wild than birds, mammals and amphibians combined.

As per information given by the BSI, 18 species of plants — four non-flowering and 14 flowering — have gone extinct. The notable among them are Lastreopsis wattii , a fern in Manipur discovered by George Watt in 1882 and three species from the genus Ophiorrhiza ( Ophiorrhiza brunonis , Ophiorrhiza caudate and Ophiorrhiza radican ), all discovered from peninsular India. Corypha taliera Roxb , a palm species discovered in Myanmar and the Bengal region by William Roxburgh is also extinct.

Among mammals, the cheetah ( Acionyx jubatus ) and the Sumatran rhinoceros ( Dicerorhinus sumatrensisi) are considered extinct in India.

The pink-headed duck ( Rhodonessa caryophyllaceai ) is feared extinct since 1950 and the Himalayan quail ( Ophrysia supercililios ) was last reported in 1876.

Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, said that the four animals can be found in other parts of the world. India has about 6.49% of all the fauna species in the world, he said.

Factors like “competition, predation, natural selection, and human induced factors like hunting, habitat degradation” are some of the important reasons that have led to these extinctions, the Ministry said.

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