India has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first country globally to compile a comprehensive checklist of its entire fauna, encompassing 104,561 species, as announced by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Saturday. Yadav made this declaration during the Animal Taxonomy Summit-2024, which was organized by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). Additionally, he unveiled the Fauna of India Checklist Portal on the occasion of the 109th Foundation Day of the ZSI in Kolkata.

The minister emphasized India's role as a global leader in biodiversity conservation, highlighting the nation's respect for nature and commitment to biodiversity preservation. The Fauna of India Checklist Portal represents the first exhaustive document on the faunal species reported in India. This checklist will serve as a crucial resource for taxonomists, researchers, educators, conservationists, and policymakers, containing 121 checklists across 36 phyla, including endemic, threatened, and scheduled species.

Yadav also advocated for a recycling economy, suggesting that efforts should be made to return resources to nature in their purest form. He mentioned government initiatives such as the International Big Cat Alliance and the successful relocation of cheetahs to India as examples of biodiversity preservation efforts. During the summit, 350 delegates from four countries, including the Natural History Museum in London, will participate in discussions under three main themes: Taxonomy, Systematics and Evolution; Ecology and Animal Behaviour; and Biodiversity and Conservation.

The summit, spanning three days, will feature 21 plenary/lead lectures by renowned speakers and experts from both India and abroad, along with 142 oral/poster presentations. The event will conclude on July 3, with recommendations to be forwarded to the Government of India for biodiversity conservation. Additionally, Yadav released several significant publications by ZSI and the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), including 'Animal Discoveries-2023' and 'Plant Discoveries-2023', which document new species and records from India.