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Animals the worst-sufferers of land degradation: Director, ZSI

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Animals are the worst victims of land degradation, desertification, and soil erosion, said Kailash Chandra, Director, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), here on Saturday.

"Animals are the worst sufferers of land degradation. Immense changes are occurring because of deforestation and desertification," said Chandra while speaking at an event here.

"Around 40 per cent of the country's land is facing the threat of desertification, which is causing severe adversities to the animals," said Chandra, who was speaking at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The UNCCD meeting, which is being held in the capital from September 2 to conclude on 13, is being attended by the representatives of 196 countries with almost 5000 participants.

The country's apex organisation on animal taxonomy, ZSI, has observed that Cheetah, pink-headed duck, Javan, and Sumatran rhino are already extinct from India primarily due to land desertification and degradation combined with other factors.

The population of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), a desert bird which was earlier found in many states, has reduced to less than 150. A breeding programme for GIB has been initiated.

"Forest land being transformed into agricultural land is critically increasing the adversities for the animals. The use of pesticides and insecticides is deteriorating the scenario further," said Chandra.

There are many projects initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), which focuses on steps needed to save the animals from extinction and ensure a healthy for the critically endangered species.

Along with these, the well-appreciated Tiger project, Elephant project, Rhino project and other variants of this kind are in action to protect and preserve animal lives.

There are 771 protected areas whose land composition cannot be changed, which is boosting the animal population.

However, Chandra said that "everything from now on will have to be regulated so that minimal harm is done.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, September 07 2019. 18:13 IST