‘Sustainable development need of hour’

Aligarh, March 5 (IANS) Pointing out that an estimated 81 species of animals and 38 species of birds were endangered in India, an expert Friday said protection of the environment through sustainable development was crucial.

‘India has a rich natural heritage with more than 80,000 species of animals and 45,000 species of plants. We have 63 national parks, 593 wildlife sanctuaries and 14 biosphere reserves,’ said S.M. Nair, ex-director of the National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi.

He was delivering the keynote address at a two-day national conference on the ‘Role of Museum in Environmental Education and Interpretation’ organised by the Department of Museology, Aligarh Muslim University.

He said protection of the environment to ensure sustainable development had become a crucial necessity for mankind’s survival.

He said at present an estimated 81 species of animals, 38 species of birds and 18 species of reptiles and amphibians are endangered in India. The tiger, lion, rhino, snow, leopard, blackbuck and a variety of birds are endangered today.

Despite all this, India still has a rich diversity of animal life. Efforts are being made for their conservation, he said.

While presiding over the inaugural session, Ziauddin Khairoowala, acting vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, said climate change is a major environmental issue.

‘We should create an eco-friendly atmosphere to promote environmental awareness and conservation of nature and natural resource.’

Khairoowala said the union government is expending huge money to clean the Ganga but the river was still polluted. He said: ‘India is one of the oldest civilisations and we have very good wildlife sanctuaries to protect endangered animals.’

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