Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Reasons why India's biodiversity is at risk

Home to about a tenth of the world's known plant and animal species, India is a global biodiversity hot spot.

The country also has a bank of 50,000 varieties of rice, a grain that feeds about half of the world's population. Mangoes, tea, sorghum, millets and pulses grow freely on its lands.

But with 18% of the world's population crammed into just 2.4% of the global landmass, India's biodiversity is under pressure, something which the 12,000 delegates from 190 countries attending the UN meeting on biodiversity in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad will be aware about.

Here are some indicators of how India's biodiversity is under threat:

Four animals - the cheetah, Lesser Indian Rhinoceros, Pink-headed duck, and the Himalayan Mountain Quail - have become extinct in the last century.
A total of 929 animal species are threatened today, up from 648 in 2004, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). India's rank in the global "shame list" of nations struggling to protect its species diversity has slid to seven, next to China.

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