Holy ecological treasure….133 new species have been discovered in India, including an unnamed species of bird. Reptiles, spiders, insects and fish make up the new bounty, which had actually existed on their own for perhaps millions of years, but were not documented by science.
India may have twice as many undocumented species as documented ones. The number of documented ones stands at about 92,000 for animals, so they could have a long way to go to discover, catalog and name all their species. (India has about 7.5% of Earth’s species, but just two percent of its surface area.) The list of the most recently discoveries was compiled by the Zoological Survey of India.
‘I am indeed happy to know that 133 species which are new to science were discovered by scientists from ZSI and other universities and colleges across the country. This shows the extent of biodiversity our country holds within it. I am sure that by exploring the various remote and isolated places within the 10 major biogeographic zones of our country, we can discover many more species,’ said Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarjan. (Source: Zee News)
The new bird was discovered on Great Nicobar Island and the researchers were fortunate enough to get a photograph of it. This island has a large nature preserve and many endemic species. The tsunami of 2004 impacted it severely. (Great Nicobar is closer to Malaysia than India.)
India is also home to one of the largest human populations on Earth. Documenting wild species is very important, because if they are unknown, it is likely much easier to take over their habitat and convert it for human purposes. Currently we are in an age of extinction due to human activities like habitat destruction and climate change. Human development projects must take ecology into account if other species are to continue to survive. Without out such important field research, many more species could be driven into extinction, and we would not even be aware of their destruction.