The Zoological Survey of India is responsible for exploring, surveying and monitoring the faunal diversity of different States and protected areas in the country.

From time to time, we come across news about researchers of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) discovering new species of fauna. But do you know what ZSI is and what its functions are? Let's find out.

A premier organisation in the field of zoological research and conservation, the Zoological Survey of India was established in July 1916. In fact, it began as the zoological section of the Indian Museum in Calcutta in 1875. Headquartered in Kolkata, its main objective is to conduct research and surveys on the fauna of the country and document the rich animal diversity found in different States and protected areas in the subcontinent.

It is the ZSI which is responsible for the classification, categorisation, and description of new animal species, and maintaining a database of all species found across the country. It makes a periodic review of the status of the threatened and endemic species and comes up with conservation strategies for the endangered ones.

The ZSI carries out surveys in different ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, mangroves, backwaters, and coastal areas with the aim of documenting the distribution and abundance of different animal species. These surveys are crucial as they not only promote understanding of the status of the varied species but also help identify areas where conservation efforts are required.

The apex organisation for zoological studies has taxonomists and researchers who identify new animal species, group them into categories, and provide descriptions about them. Every year, the ZSI consolidates information about new fauna in the country and publishes it under the title "Animal Discoveries". It has also published pictorial handbooks and guides to generate interest in people like us to understand and appreciate the fauna of the country.

Did you know that the ZSI also publishes the Red Data Book on Indian Animals? This book contains a record of all the endangered species of animals endemic to the subcontinent. It was first published in 1983.

The ZSI comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. It has 16 regional centres spread across the country and over 300 scientists. Dhriti Banerjee is currently the Director of the Zoological Survey of India. In 2021, she became the first woman to take charge as director of the ZSI in its over 100-year history.

Picture Credit : Google 

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