Pune: Zoological Survey of India Documents Over 30,000 Fauna Species in Western Ghats; Wildlife Forensic Laboratory To Be Set Up Soon

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Pune, 24th February 2024: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Western Regional Centre, operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, has successfully documented more than 30,000 species of fauna in the Western Ghats. 

Dr. Basudev Tripathy, the officer in charge of ZSI, Western Regional Center, shared this information during a press conference held in Pune. Dr. Aparna Kalawte, Dr. Satish Talmale, Dr. Sachin Patil, and other officers from ZSI-WRC were present at the media briefing at Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth on Friday.

ZSI Pune

Dr. Tripathy revealed that ongoing research at ZSI is focused on studying these documented species, with an accelerated effort to prepare DNA reports for each. Speaking at the conference, he disclosed that the establishment of the Western Ghat Faunal Repository at the Western Regional Centre, Pune, has received in-principle approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change. Additionally, plans for a Wildlife Forensic Laboratory at WRC, Pune, are currently under active consideration by the Ministry.

Providing insights into ZSI, Dr. Tripathy highlighted that it is a leading scientific organization dedicated to documenting and studying India’s fauna since its inception in 1916. With 16 regional centers across India, ZSI covers ecosystems from ocean depths to Himalayan peaks. The Western Regional Centre, established in Pune in 1959, has completed 65 years of existence, making it the first center of ZSI in the western part of the country. Its jurisdiction includes major ecosystems, protected areas, and states such as Maharashtra, Goa, part of Gujarat and Karnataka, Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Daman & Diu.

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The documented fauna includes a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, shellfish, crabs, scorpions, spiders, butterflies, weevils, moths, dragonflies, damselflies, gall midges, ants, bees, and other experts in their respective fields.

The ZSI Western Regional Center, located in Akurdi area of Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune, houses a museum with over 750 specimens representing about 375 species. The museum serves as an educational tool to enlighten students and create public awareness about biodiversity and conservation. Additionally, the center boasts a well-established library with 5000 books on zoology, journals, and periodicals catering to research students interested in biodiversity research.

Zoological Survey of India ZSI

Dr. Tripathy mentioned several major publications by the center, including Fauna of India (Scorpions and Spiders), State Fauna (Maharashtra and Goa), Fauna of Protected Areas, and Fauna of Wetland Ecosystems.

Apart from documentation and research, ZSI-WRC, Pune, offers identification and advisory services on various animal taxa, including confiscated wildlife materials received for confirmation from enforcement agencies such as Maharashtra Police, Forest Department, Crime Branch, Central Excise, and Custom Department.

Dr. Tripathy concluded by encouraging scholars and researchers to take advantage of the literature (books, records) published by ZSI in the last 100 years, which is available free of cost on the website faunaofindia.nic.in.