Three animal species have now become extinct in India, spelling devastating news for the future of our planet.
These three species – the Indian Cheetah, the pink-headed duck, and the Great Indian bustard – have reportedly gone extinct because of the impact of desertification in India.
This grave news was announced this week by researchers attending the 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Director of the Zoological Survey of India, Kailash Chandra, told ANI News:
We have a database for more than 5.6 million specimens, collected from all over India and also from the neighbouring countries before independence. They give a lot of information about how things have changed in more than 100 years.
If you see their distribution in geo-special platforms, you’ll realise how much changes have occurred because of the impact of deforestation and desertification.
Mr Chandra continued:
A minimum of three to four species have already become extinct in India, such as India Cheetah, pink-headed duck, and the Great Indian Bustard.
[…] Many more are on the verge of becoming extinct and therefore fall into the category of critically endangered species. These specimens have reduced to less than 150.
According to Mr Chandra, desertification can be attributed to a number of factors, including insecticides, pesticides, agricultural land conversion, industries, chemicals, and indiscriminate development.
He has stressed that, in order to ‘reverse this process’, humans will need to regulate ‘everything’ so as to minimise the damage.
As emphasised by Mr Chandra, desertification has a devastating impact on biodiversity – from microscopic animals to human beings – and has profound consequences for the food chain.
India is reportedly facing a growing land degradation crisis, with over 30 per cent of its land area having been degraded.
However, it’s not just India facing such grave concerns. As discussed at the conference, the entire planet is facing issues with soil aridity, a problem which has sparked concern for some of the most vulnerable ecosystems.
The conference itself was held in Greater Noida between September 2 and September 13, and brought together 196 countries and 94 environment ministers. The focus was on environmental conservation, with a particular emphasis on land management.
I look forward to connecting with #ClimateAction leaders at the #UNCCDCOP14 in #India.
Combat desertification & restore land to sustain life.
Climate change is a race we can win, if we #ActNow for #SustainableDevelopment pic.twitter.com/KzCNKscVaK
— Amina J Mohammed (@AminaJMohammed) September 7, 2019
Speaking at the conference last weekend, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged cooperation in regards to tackling the issues of climate change and land degradation.
As reported by The Indian Express, ministers will announce targets for land restoration and are expected to reach consensus on action required for addressing emerging threats of forced migration, sand and dust storms, as well as measures needed to strengthen resilience to droughts.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.