With an area constituting 9.36% of the country’s total geographical area, Maharashtra is home to 6 per cent of the total fauna found in the country, revealed a report released by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) on Monday.
The report, part of the larger ‘State Fauna Series’ reports brought out by the organisation, provides baseline data and an inventory of fauna ranging from protozoa to mammals. It has been published in two volumes, with one volume each dedicated to vertebrates and invertebrates.
“Of the 94,000 identifiable fauna species in the country, Maharashtra accounts for 5,460 species, which is six per cent of the country’s fauna. Several studies have been done in the past, but we have tried to make a consolidated inventory that would be of help to academicians and scientists,” said Dr K Venkatraman, director of ZSI, Kolkata.
“The report cannot be termed as a final account of the total biodiversity of the state, as many ubiquitous invertebrate species such as earthworms, leeches, spiders and moths have not been included,” he said.
Describing the state’s natural landscape, the report said, “The state’s 20.8 per cent land is under forest, 58 per cent is used for agriculture and 21.2 per cent is non-forest and non-agricultural land. The state has three crucial biogeographic zones, which are important zones for biodiversity, namely Western Ghats, Deccan Plateau and the West coast. The Ghats nurture endemic species, Deccan Plateau provides for vast mountain ranges and grasslands while the coast is home to littoral and swamp forests.
K Sankaranarayanan, governor of Maharashtra, said, “The report would be a valuable source of information for state managers in framing conservation strategies.”