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Half of mammals face habitat loss: ZSI
Jul 27, 2015

In a unique initiative, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has published a book containing a consolidated documentation and listing of all the scheduled or protected species of mammals found in India.

The book, An Identification Manual for Scheduled Mammals of India, provides detailed information on scheduled mammals, their status as per IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list of Threatened Species.

India is home to 428 species of mammals out of which more than 60 per cent — about 251 species — are under protected or Scheduled categories of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

428 species of mammals in India contribute to about 8 per cent of the total mammal species found in the World. About 50 per cent of mammalian fauna of India have shrunk in their distributional range due to various anthropogenic pressures. Already four mammal species — Cheetah, Banteng, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Javan Rhinoceros — are extinct in India.

Out of the 251 Schedule mammals species listed under the India Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and documented in the publication, about 180 fall under the “lesser-known” category, and very little information is available about their habitat, behaviour, and population.

Around 78 species of mammals are included in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, implying that highest priority is placed on the conservation of these animals in the country. While the Schedule I mammals constitute well known species like tiger, elephant and Indian rhinoceros, “lesser known” species such as clouded leopard, snow leopard, gaur, desert cat, Niligiri tahr, swamp deer, sloth bear and Tibetan, sand fox are also included in the list.

The book also lists the mammals that fall in the “Critically Endangered” category of the IUCN. These animals are: pygmy hog, Malabar civet, large rock rat and kondana rat. As per the IUCN status 29 mammals (such as, Chinese Pangolin, fishing cat, Gangetic dolphin, golden langur, hispid hare etc.) in the country come under the “endangered” category.

Zoological Survey of India

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established on 1st July, 1916 to promote survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile ´British Indian Empire´. The survey has its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875. By gradually strengthening its staff and expanding its research programme, the Survey has met the challenge of the past and is on its way to meet the demands of the future. It has maintained its primary objectives unchanged from its inception.

Primary Objectives

■ Exploration, Survey, Inventorying and Monitoring of faunal diversity in various

■ States, Ecosystems and Protected areas of India.

■ Taxonomic studies of all faunal components collected.

■ Periodic review of the Status of Threatened and Endemic species.

■ Preparation of Red Data Book, Fauna of India and Fauna of States.

■ Bioecological studies on selected important communities/species.

■ Preparation of databases for the recorded species of the country

■ Maintenance & Development of National Zoological Collections.

■ Training, Capacity Building and Human Resource Development.

■ Faunal Identification, Advisory services and Library Services.

■ Publication of results including Fauna of India and Fauna of States.


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