ZSI lists 20 species of amphibians as 'critically endangered'
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ZSI lists 20 species of amphibians as ‘critically endangered’

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By IANS Updated: May 17, 2020 12:02 pm
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Panaji, May 17 (PTI):┬áThe Zoological Survey of India has posted an updated checklist of Indian amphibians on its website, listing 20 species as critically endangered and 35 as ‘endangered’, an official said on Sunday.

The 20 ‘critically endangered’ amphibians include some species of frogs found in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka and in some hills of the northeast, he said.

The number of amphibian species recorded in the comprehensive checklist, uploaded on the Zoological Survey of India’s (ZSI) website on Friday, has gone up from 284 in 2009 to 447 now, Goa-based environmentalist Nirmal U Kulkarni, who was part of the checklist update exercise, said.

“Among the amphibians listed, 20 species are ‘critically endangered’ and 35 species as ‘endangered’, he said.

These include Raorchestes resplendens, a shrub frog found in the high altitude region around the south Indian peak of Anamudi in Kerala, Raorchestes kaikatti, also known as the Kaikattibushfrogfound only in the Nelliyampathy Hills in the Western Ghats of Kerala and Raorchestes shillongensis species found in Shillong.

Besides, Pseudophilautus amboli, a rare shrub frog species endemic to the Western Ghats atAmboliin Maharashtra and Jog Falls and Kudremukh in Karnataka, has also been termed as critically endangered, Kulkarni said.

Raorchestes resplendens. Photo: David V. Raju

The updated comprehensive checklist will help herpetology students, researchers, conservation scientists and policymakers to understand the diversity of Indian amphibians and their up-to-date nomenclature, he said.

The newly updated checklist has also highlighted 19 per cent of amphibians as ‘data deficient’ species and about 39 per cent as ‘not assessed’, as per red list conservation status of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), he said.

A data deficient species is one which has been categorised by the IUCN as offering insufficient information for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made.

“It is high time to assess the IUCN conservation status for the Indian ‘data deficient’ 19 per cent, which are 86 species, and ‘not assessed 39 per cent, which are 175 species, of amphibians based on species-specific field explorations, Kulkarni said.

Since 2009, ZSI scientists in collaboration with other Indian institutes have been updating the Indian amphibian checklist periodically as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), he added.

The checklist has been compiled by research scientists K P Dinesh from ZSI’s western regional centre at Pune, C Radhakrishnan from Calicut, B H Channakeshavamurthy from ZSI, Calicut, P Deepak from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, and Nirmal Kulkarni from the Mhadei Research Centre in Goa.

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By IANS Updated: May 17, 2020 12:02:56 pm