The MoU will ensure greater long-term conservation of animal genetic resources in India

The Natural History Museum (NHM), London and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) will be working together to collect, study and conserve faunal specimens for science and to create and exchange associated data and images.

The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard on Friday.

The MoU, which will be for a period of five years, was signed between Director ZSI Dhriti Banerjee and Director Natural History Museum, London Douglas Gurr during a virtual ceremony.

Under the MoU, there are plans for conducting joint fieldwork expeditions, transfer of duplicate animal material and associated data and images by ZSI, Kolkata to NHM, London, and vice versa.

Annoucing the MoU, India's Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forests
said it also envisages capacity-building in the areas of Systematic Zoology and Conservation to ensure greater long-term conservation of animal genetic resources in India.

All faunal material and information exchange would be subject to all relevant extant domestic regulations of the participants as well as international laws to which either of the participants is a party.

The two institutions have already been working together over many years on mutually beneficial projects focused on the study of the fauna of India.

Through this MoU, both the institutions are committed to implementing the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna (“CITES”), the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”) and relevant national and regional laws and regulations concerning biodiversity.

ZSI Director Banerjee said that this MoU was long overdue and the NHM, London and ZSI, Kolkata are going to be mutually benefited on the faunal diversity research through scientific exchange between the two great institutions and long standing relationship.

Director NHM, London Burr said the millions of vital collections present in NHM, London and ZSI including type materials are important nationally and across the world for understanding and conserving the biodiversity, curing natural resource loss and sustainable management of bio-resources as well as impact of climate change.

With more than 100,000 species of animals known to occur in India, it is the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) that brought to the knowledge of scientific communities about many of them as the new and endemic species.

ZSI is the premier institution on animal taxonomy and biodiversity in India under the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change of Government of India.

Headquartered in Calcutta, it has 16 Regional Centres instituted to cater to the faunal diversity of the various biogeographic areas of India.

ZSI has around 5 million animal collection holding, 20,000 type collections and around 450 scientists and scientific staff work towards curatorial and research on the vast animal collections present in ZSI.
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