As many as 36 animal and plant species in Gujarat have been categorized as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said.
In reply to a question by Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, the minister stated that 20 species of animals and 16 of plants are endangered in Gujarat.
The animal species include Black Mahseer, Golden Mahaseer, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Indian White-backed Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Greater Adjutant-Stork, Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Sociable Lapwing, Spotted Greenshank, Forest Spotted Owlet, Dhole, Caracal, Blue Whale, Fin Whale and Indian Wild Ass.
Quoting IUCN’s studies, Javadekar stated that the number of endangered fauna species in the country had increased from 648 in 2013 to 665 in 2015.
Similarly, the number of endangered mammals had risen from 95 to 98, birds from 80 to 88, reptiles from 52 to 53, amphibians from 74 to 75, fishes from 213 to 216 and molluses from six to seven in the last two years.
Nathwani wanted to know about rhw increase in the number of endangered species during the last two years and if wildlife habitats were being destroyed due to mining and whether the government was making efforts to prevent this.
Indicating that mining activities might not be endangering the flora and fauna, the minister said the Supreme Court had prohibited mining within national parks and sanctuaries and in a radius of one kilometer from these regions.
The minister said that according to the data available with the Botanical Survey of India, out of 19,156 species of vascular plants (angiosperms, gymnosperms, Pteridophytes) recorded in the country, 1,236 species belong to different threatened categories like Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable.
They are threatened due to various anthropogenic and natural factors, Javadekar said.