Raising question marks on the effectiveness of environment conservation activities in the state, the latest red list published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has set alarm bells ringing for the nature lovers in Kerala.
Even though there are no new additions or any change of categories of plant or animal species from the state in the first four categories of ‘extinct,’ ‘extinct in the wild,’ ‘critically endangered’ and in the ‘endangered’ list from the previous list, the state tops both in the critically endangered and endangered categories.
Out of the total 135 species from India being included in the critically endangered category, including 18 new additions in the red list 2012, 27 species are found in Kerala.
This includes 19 flora and eight fauna species.
All the 14 species, including Barbodes Wynaadensis, Puntius Pookodensis, Eriocaulon Sivarajanii and Rotala Malabarica listed as critically endangered in the previous list published on November 2012 remain in the same category with their population showing a decreasing trend.
The list also shows that 24 from Tamil Nadu and 17 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands are critically endangered.
In the less threatened endangered list, out of the total 328 species from India, 115 are found in Kerala which include 72 plant and 43 animal species.
In the previous list, Nilgiri Barb, Periyar Barb, Malabar Swampeel and Malabar Patashi were among the 49 species included in this category and all of them remain in the same category.
Behind Kerala, 61 species from Tamil Nadu and 39 from Karnataka were also listed in the category.
“The increased number of species in the list from Kerala can be seen in two ways. On the one hand, it shows heightened environment consciousness in Kerala in finding threats to various species.
“But on the other side, we should review the conservation efforts. As most of the forest areas in the state are endemic to large numbers of species, more efforts should be initiated to conserve the species included in the red list. So that we will be able to drop the species from the threatened categories,” said P O Nameer, Head, Department of Wildlife Sciences, College of Forestry.