445 New Species Identified In India
For the year 2015, 445 species that were new to science were identified by Indian researchers. Of the newly identified, 262 were animals and 183 were plants. New species were identified in all regions of India, and about 15% were higher vertebrates.
The eastern Himalayas is where most of the new species are from. The Western Ghats, Andaman and Nicobar islands are the other locations. The Himalayas had 19%; the Western Ghats was a close second with 18%. Each of other others had about 15%, so the distribution of newly identified species was somewhat equal.
A rock gecko species was discovered in Kanker Chhattishgarh. In the Western Ghats, a new frog species and a new fish species were found. In Meghalaya, a new species of ginger plant was found and in north Sikkim, a new species of mushroom. (The mushroom species was discovered at high altitude.)
Scientists from the Zoological Society of India (ZSI) identified 70 of the new species in 2015. ZSI is also conducting research into the impact of climate change on animals in the Himalayas. The Zoological Society of India was founded in 1916 to survey and document India’s rich flora and fauna. According to one source, ZSI has a repository with about 4.5 million animal specimens. Since it was established by the British Raj, ZSI has done an immense amount of scientific work.
That so many new species were discovered is great news, but it may lead some to believe there is no global conservation problem. Currently, many extinctions are taking place as well. Climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and poaching are all taking a great toll on wild animals and plants around the world.
Occasionally, a species which is new to science is discovered which is also in danger of becoming extinct. Endemic species may only live in very small areas, which are mere fragments of what they used to be. These species might not be able to live anywhere else, so if their tiny habitat is disturbed or destroyed they may be driven into extinction.