For extensive and intensive faunal exploration of various regions, a number of Regional and Field Stations have been established and it would be worthwhile to give here the exploration activities of the Department in different ecosystems.
(i) Estuarine and Marine Surveys:
India has a long coast line of about 7000 km and the marine ecosystem offers a rich biological resource, much of which remains to be explored. Estuarine and marine animals are collected to study the faunal status and composition and their interaction with the marine ecosystems. Survey of faunal resources of estuarine areas, brackish-water lakes and back-waters of the eastern coast of India have been recently taken up by the newly established Estuarine Biological Research Station at Gopalpur on Sea, Ganjam, Orissa.
(ii) Mangrove Faunal Surveys:
Mangroves are considered the nursery of nature, specially for the living forms of marine environment. For the collection and study of mangrove organisms, faunistic surveys are being undertaken in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sunderbans (West Bengal) and Pitchavaram Islands (Tamil Nadu). The fauna is being thoroughly studied to assess the quantitative and qualitative distribution in these areas.
(iii) Island Surveys:
The scope of studying the insular characteristics of fauna has been much enhanced with the establishment of a Regional Station at Port Blair in the South Andamans. The scientists of this Station, in collaboration with others, especially from Headquarters at Calcutta and from the Marine Biological Station, Chennai.
(iv) Western Ghats Surveys:
Western Ghats offer one of the richest biological resources, yet to be fully explored for formulation of a management plan. The scientists of the Western Regional Station, Pune and the Western Ghats Field Station, Calicut, are entrusted with the study and collection of the rich and diverse fauna of the Ghat areas.
(v) Tropical Rain Forests Surveys
The exploration of rich and diverse fauna, occurring in the tropical rain forests in the Ghat areas of Western India as well as in the rugged topography of north-east India, is one of the priority activities of Z.S.I. Two Regional Stations, one at Pune and another at Kozhilkode, are conducting active field explorations in the Ghat areas as already mentioned, while the Eastern Regional Station at Shillong, Field Station at New Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh and parties of the Headquarters regularly survey north-eastern India.
(vi) High Altitude Surveys:
The scientists of the High Altitude Zoology Field Station, Solan, Northern Regional Station, Dehra Dun and the Headquarters are studying the Himalayan mountain fauna in respect of their vertical distribution and survival potentiality in the extreme temperate climatic condition.
(vii) Desert Surveys:
Desertification of some areas all over the world poses a major problem to United Nations Environmental Programme and the desert region in India offers one of the major study areas. Z.S.I. has not overlooked the importance of studying the desert animals with particular reference to their adaptations, survival potentiality and their possible role in desertification. Desert Regional Station at Jodhpur conducts faunistic survey on different groups of animals of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
(viii) Freshwater Resources Surveys:The Scientists of the Survey are taking keen interest to explore the aquatic fauna specially sponges, molluscs, crustaceans (prawns, shrimps, crabs, etc.) and fishes from the major freshwater resources in the country. Freshwater Biological Station at Hyderabad is involved in the limnological investigations in some major lentic water bodies, wetlands of national and international importance.
Approximately 90,000 species of animals are known from India of which Fish account for 2,546 species; Amphibia, 210 species; Reptilia, 428 species; Birds, 2,000 species and subspecies; Mammals, 397 species and subspecies; the rest being represented by other faunal elements. Of these, 75 'species of Mammals, 59 species of Birds, 19 species of Reptiles, 3 species of Amphibians and a large number of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera are listed as endangered. Status survey to variable extent has been carried out in respect of 28 species but a detailed consolidated account of only a few species Is available.
The status survey of the following species has been done and results published:
- Golden Langur
- Phayre’s Leaf Monkey
- Hispid Hare
- Desert Cat
- Tibetan Wild Ass or Kiang
- Himalayan Marmot
- Himalayan Salamander
- Wroughton’s Free Tailed bat
- Western Tragopan
- Indian Edible-nest Swiftlet
The faunal diversity of the following Protected Areas has been documented:
Nanda Devi National Park, Uttarakhand
Corbet National Park, Uttarakhand
Rajaji National Park. Uttarakhand
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra
Eravikulum National Park, Kerala
Kudremukh National Park , Karnataka
Mount Harriet National Park , South Andaman
Desert National Park, Rajasthan
Pench National Park, Maharashtra
Gulf of Kutchh Marine National Park , Gujarat
Banerghata National Park, Karnataka
North, Middle and South Button National Parks, Andaman
Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary , Orissa
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Delhi
Gobind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary , Uttarakhand
Saipung Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghalaya
Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary, Bihar
Indravati Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh
Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Bihar
Sundarbans, Palamau , Similipal and Manas TRs
MeIghat Tiger Reserve
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand
Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve, West Bengal
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu