Indian species on most threatened list

NEW DELHI: They may disappear even before we get to know them. Four Indian species feature in a list of the ‘100 most threatened’ species in the world. The list consists of critically endangered animals, plants and fungi that don’t serve any obvious purpose for humans and are, therefore, not priority for government conservation efforts. Titled, “Priceless or Worthless,” the list was compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zological Society of London and released on Tuesday.

The ‘Great Indian Bustard’, one of the heaviest flying birds, ‘Gooty tarantula’, a poisonous spider known for its vibrant blue colour, ‘Batagur buska’, an endangered turtle and the ‘White Bellied Heron’ are all on the brink of extinction, according to the list, released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea. ‘Priceless or Worthless,’ highlights the plight of species that have been endangered but haven’t received adequate attention from governments. Conservationists fear the neglect will continue as none of them provide humans with obvious ‘benefits.’ For the first time, more than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) came together to prepare such a list.

The four species lack the charisma of bigger endangered animals like tigers. But The disappearance of the four species is of concern as all four they once occurred in great abundance in India. The Gooty Tarantula (also metallic tarantula or peacock tarantula), was plentiful in Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

According to the list, there are just 50 to 249 adult birds left of the Great Indian Bustard that was very common in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka. “At least through this list the bird may get some attention. In 1969-70, there were around 1,200 to 1,300 GIBs but with hunting and change in agricultural methods, it’s disappearing,” says Pramod Patil of Pune-based Great Indian Bustard Foundation.