Three Animal Species in India Extinct Due To Desertification: Researchers

According to some researchers three animal species namely Indian Cheetah, pink-headed duck and Great Indian Bustard have become extinct due to desertification in India. The study by researchers was put forth at 14th meeting of Conference of Parties to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14).

The UNCCD COP 14 meeting is being held in national capital from 2-13 September 2019 and is being attended by representatives of 196 countries with almost 5000 participants.

Key Findings of Study

Researchers claimed having a database of over 5.6 million specimens, collected from all over India and also from neighbouring countries before independence which gives a lot of information about how things have changed in more than 100 years.

While speaking at UNCCD COP 14 meeting Kailash Chandra, Director of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), country’s apex organisation on animal taxonomy, stressed that-

  • Immense changes are occurring because of deforestation and desertification and animals are the worst sufferers of land degradation
  • Around 40% of country’s land is facing threat of desertification and over 30% of its land area has been degraded through deforestation, over-cultivation, soil erosion and depletion of wetlands, which is causing severe adversities to animals.
  • Desertification not only impacts animals but the entire biodiversity, which includes microscopic animals to human beings and also the entire food chain too.
  • Even though India faces a growing crisis of land degradation but its not only India, but the entire world which faces problems regarding soil aridity.
  • Reason for desertification: Desertification is caused due to increasing use of insecticides, pesticides, conversion of forest land to agricultural land, industries and chemicals and indiscriminate development which is increasing adversities for the animals. But everything has to be regulated so that it could be minimised the process could be reversed.
  • Species Extinctions: A minimum of 3-4 species have already become extinct from India (like Indian Cheetah, Pink-headed duck, Javan, and Sumatran rhino) is primarily due to land degradation and desertification in combination with other factors. Population of Great Indian Bustard, a desert bird which was earlier found in many states, has reduced to less than 150. Many more species are on verge of becoming extinct and therefore fall into category of critically endangered species.
Steps taken by Governent:

A breeding programme for GIB has been initiated by government.

Projects initiated by Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) focuses on steps required to save animals from extinction and ensure a healthy environment for endangered species. Elephant project, Rhino project, Tiger project and other variants of this kind are in action to protect and preserve animal lives.

There are 771 protected areas whose land composition cannot be changed, which is boosting animal population.




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