Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 01-June, 2011 17:18 IST
New Museum Gallery on North East Biodiversity opens in Bhubaneswar
REGIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, BHUBANESWAR

The Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik has inaugurated a Museum Gallery on North East Biodiversity in the Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) Bhubaneswar toady. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment & Forests, MoEF Shri Jairam Ramesh, was also present on the occasion.  This Museum Gallery depicts the natural heritage of North-Eastern India which includes two of the 34 Biodiversity hotspots in the World: Himalayas and Indo-Burma.

 

On the occasion, Shri Jairam Ramesh, said that his Ministry would establish two institutions, the National Centre on Wetlands and Marine Biodiversity in Bhubaneswar, and National Centre on Olive Ridley and Marine Biodiversity at Gahirmata in Odisha.

 

On the sidelines of the programme the Minster also inaugurated the Fragrance Garden at the Regional office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. He announced that this would be developed into a Biocultural park. He also announced that the Ministry would make efforts to get a digital copy of Jardin de Lorixa, considered to be the earliest scientific documentation of traditional/ indigenous knowledge about plants of Orissa, of which only one manuscript is available in Natural History Museum Paris (France).

 

During this occasion brochures on North East Biodiversity Gallery was released by Shri Naveen Patnaik, and on the Museum by Shri Jairam Ramesh. .

 

India has a very rich diversity of wild plants and animals and is considered as one of the mega diverse country out of 17 mega diverse countries of the world.  India also hosts four biodiversity hotspots: the Western Ghats, the Himalayas, the Indo–Burma and Sundaland hotspot out of 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world.  The Eastern Himalaya hotspot covers Darjeeling hills of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, and the Indo- Burma hotspot covers all the other Northeastern States.

 

The Northeastern Region of India, comprising the seven sister states and Sikkim are part of Himalaya and Indo-Burma hotspots of the country The forests of North East harbor 40 out of 54 species of gymnosperms, 80 out of 90 species of Rhododendron, 60 out of 110 species of bamboo, 825 out of 1145 species of orchids, 105 out of 286 species of amphibian, 44 out of 201 species of lizards, 102 out of 275 species of snakes, 21 out of 29 species of freshwater turtle and tortoise found in India. The Region is abode of approximately 135 tribes out of 450 in the country.

 

The lushness of its landscape, the range of communities and geographical and ecological diversity makes North East quite different from other parts of the subcontinent. It is worth to mention that at least 353 new species have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas between 1998 and 2008, equating to an average of 35 new species finds every year for the last 10 years.

 

North Eastern region  has nearly 163 globally threatened species including the One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Wild Asian Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis arnee ) and the  region is also home to the Himalayan Newt (Tylototriton verrucosus), the only salamander species found within Indian limits. Both plant and animal species are under threat of extinction.  Estimates show that about 50 species are being drawn to extinction every day, and at this rate about 25% of present day biodiversity is likely to become extinct during the next 20-30 years if appropriate steps are not taken for its conservation.

 

Realizing the importance  and necessity of creating awareness about the conservation of this precious and pristine biological diversity  of these biodiversity hotspots of the country  and the role of natural history museum in dissemination of environmental information to the public in general and student community in particular, it was  decided in the last advisory planning committee meeting that the Regional Museum of Natural History, Mysore will develop an exhibition on biodiversity of Western Ghats and Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar  will develop a  gallery on North East Biodiversity  and it is being inaugurated today. This gallery will be an added attraction along with the already existing gallery depicting the biodiversity of Odisha with exhibits on Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Mahanadi ecosystem, Bhitarkanika Mangroves and Chilika lagoon along with a unique collection of 47ft skeleton of a baleen whale supported by many educational programmes and activities for public and students.

 

This new gallery on North East Biodiversity is having exhibits depicting Different eco-regions of North East, the course of the mighty river Brahmaputra, Kaziranga –The habitat of one horned Indian rhinoceros, the endemic and endangered avifauna, rich diversity of non human primates, Orchids and rhododendron of North East, New species discoveries from Eastern Himalayas, the hills, waterfalls, sacred groves of Meghalaya and the Loktak lake – a unique habitat of Sangai etc.

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NSK/DB


(Release ID :72438)