Over 350 new species of animals, more than 250 new plants discovered in India last year
Scientists have discovered at least 364 new species of animals and 253 new species of plants from India in 2019.
While these 364 animal species were unknown to humans, another 116 species of animals, which were earlier found elsewhere in the world but not recorded from India previously, have also been found in the last one year.
The list of discoveries, published in the form of two books by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and Botanical Survey India, both of which have their headquarters in Kolkata, were released by Union minister of state for forest and environment Babul Supriyo on Friday.
“Out of the 364 new species that have been discovered, four are fossil species. Another four sub-species have been discovered. The maximum numbers of species that have been discovered are of insects. The list also includes reptiles, fish and amphibians among others,” said Kailash Chandra, director of the ZSI.
With the new animal discoveries, India now has 102,161 species of animals – starting right from one-celled protozoans to large animals such as elephants and tigers. This is around 6.52 percent of the global share. More than 50,000 species of plants have also been identified from the country.
“India is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, hence it is important that we document our bio-resources in a bid to establish sovereign rights, use it sustainably and share the benefits derived from these resources equitably,” said Supriyo.
Scientists from across the globe have managed to identify 1.8 million species till date which is only a small fraction of the estimated 30 to 50 million species thought to exist in the world. India ranks 8th in the world with its 1.02 lakh species.
“The list of newly discovered plants includes seed-bearing plants, ferns, fungi, algae and various species of microbes. Many close relatives of crop plants, potential plants for product development, horticultural value and alternative foods, such as wild jamun, balsams and mushrooms have also been discovered,” said Ashiho Asosii Mao, director of the Botanical Survey of India.