Set up by the British Raj 100 years ago, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) will celebrate its cenetenary with a year-long program creating awareness and making public participation a part of its wildlife conservation efforts in the country.
The completion of 100 years on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 marked the establishment of the ZSI’s predecessor organisation Asiatic Survey in 1916 with a run organised in Kolkata. Currently, ZSI has a diverse repository of 4.5 million specimen of animals and 97,000 species of which 5,000 are new to science.
The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established on 1st July, 1916 to promote survey, exploration and research of wildlife of the erstwhile “British Indian Empire”. It was carved out of a section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta set up in 1875.
So far, the Zoological Survey of India has established so far 16 Regional and Field Stations, and has developed into a major National guardian of the National Zoological Collections, containing over a million identified specimens from all animal groups ranging from Protozoa to Mammals.
Extensive and intensive field explorations are undertaken by the Survey in different parts of the country for the studies of fauna, systematic zoology, animal ecology, wildlife and zoogeography, animal behavior, animal population and also marine fauna and the results of the explorations and research are published in its own journals as well as National and International periodicals of repute regularly, said the ZSI on its official site.
Recently efforts have been made towards an integrated approach to zoological investigations, so as to have more purpose oriented research comprising biological, cytotaxonomic, and ecological aspects. However, taxonomy continues to occupy a prominent role. There is an increasing interest in matters pertaining to animal life on the part of the public, and a constant stream of enquiries continue to pour in, reflecting public confidence in the Institute. armed with famous zoologists on its rolls.
Moving into future, the institution is exploring new technologies like DNA bar coding and GSP and geo-referncing of species across the country. The bar coding helps to identify the original geographical region of the animal. Bar-coding helps to identify poached animals from several wildlife conservations in the country when they end up global markets or in restaurants.
“India is a mega bio-diversity country possessing eight per cent of the world’s fauna. So far we have identified 50 per cent of the fauna in the country. Now we will have to search in more difficult areas and marine ecosystem… we have made several permanent monitoring plots in Sunderbans, Andamans and Nicobar and in Malvan coast,” K Ventakaraman, director of Zoological Survey of India, told The Hindu.