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Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

  • With new additions to the wildlife list put out by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), scientists say that the total number of migratory fauna from India comes to 457 species.
  • Birds comprise 83% (380 species) of these 457 species.


  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) had for the first time compiled the list of migratory species of India under the CMS before the Conference of Parties (COP 13)held in Gujarat on February 2020.
  • It had put the number of migratory species at 451. Six species were added later.
  • The 6 species that were added are the Asian elephant, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, oceanic white-tip shark, urial and smooth hammerhead shark.
  • Globally, more than 650 species are listed under the CMS appendices.
  • India has over 450 species, and hence plays a very important role in their conservation.

Bits of Information

  • The bird family Muscicapidae (small arboreal insectivores) has the highest number of migratory species.
Small Insectivorous birds muscicapidae
  • The next highest group of migratory birds is raptors or birds of prey, such as eagles, owls, vultures and kites which are from the family Accipitridae.
Migratory Raptors Birds accipitridae

Another group of birds that migrate in large numbers are waders or shore birds.

  • The largest group of mammals is definitely bats belonging to the family Vespertilionidae.
  • India has three flyways (flight paths used by birds): the Central Asian flyway, East Asian flyway and East Asian–Australasian flyway.
Flyways in India Bird Migration
  • Dolphins are the second highest group of mammals with nine migratory species of dolphins listed.
  • Seven reptiles, which include five species of turtles and the Indian gharial and salt water crocodile, are among the CMS species found in India.

Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)

  • CMS is an international treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It is also known as the Bonn Convention.
  • The convention was signed in 1979 at Bonn (hence the name Bonn Convention), Germany and entered into force in 1983.
  • It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany.
  • CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • CMS is only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • The convention provides a global platform for deliberations on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory wild animals and their habitat.
  • Since its entry into force, the membership has grown steadily to include over 120 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Extra Information

Ganges River Dolphin National Aquatic Animal of India
  • River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India. This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.
  • Plataista gangetica has a long pointed snout and also have visible teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.
February 2024