Submitted by Editor on Fri, 2016-05-20 20:44 Bengaluru: Time is running out for India’s critically endangered species, warns a new report by the International Union of Conservation Network (IUCN). According to the report, anthropogenic pressure and loss of habitat is pushing several species into extinction. Out of the 20,000 species which the scientists believe will go extinct, 988 of them are in India. And with third Friday of the month of May being observed as critically endangered species day, this is indeed bad news for the country’s wildlife lovers. As many as 96 mammals, 236 fish species, 82 birds, seven molluscs, 53 reptiles, 128 insects, 74 amphibians, and 332 plants have been declared as critically endangered species (CES) by the IUCN. And the number of species added to this list every year has been increasing ofr the past three years. Add to this, a World Bank study, which maps the endangered species across the world, says that India ranks fourth in the world for the fast disappearing species, a fact echoed by the IUCN, which stated that the number of CES in India increased from 659 in 2008 to 973 in 2013, and to 988 in another year. Dhole Gharial Golden Languar Great Indian Bustard Greater Adjutant Hollock Gibbon Indian Rhino Nilgiri Tahr Red Headed Vulture Snow Leopard Indian Vulture Wild Ass King Cobra Olive Ridley Turtle Prominent species on the brink of extinction are red-headed vulture, greater adjutant stork, Great Indian bustard, gharial and king cobra, the only Indian ape hoolock gibbon, the lion- tailed macaque, golden langur, stump-tailed macaque. Tiger and snow leopard are on the list of endangered felines, the great Indian wild ass, endemic to Rann of Kutch, and Nilgiri tahr, endemic to Nilgiri region of South India, are the ungulates listed as CES, while the Indian one-horned rhino and dhole or Asiatic wild dog have also been declared as CES by the IUCN. The irony is that most of these species are endemic and not much known in other parts of the world. They being indicator species play a major role in biodiversity conservation. The lion-tailed macaque and the hoolock gibbons being canopy dwellers thrive in dense forests. Similarly, the gharial is found in the Gangetic plains. Earlier, it was found in Indus river as well as Brahmaputra river, where it is extinct now. It is believed that only 250 gharials are alive now. The story of Indian one-horned rhino is no different. Poached for its horn, which is believed to have medicinal value, the animal is now seen only in pockets of Assam. The numbers of great Indian bustard, a grassland bird, are also dwindling fast. Loss of habitat and poaching are the reasons for the disappearance of bustards.