The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) on Friday inked a formal collaborative agreement with London’s Natural History Museum (NHM). This is the first time that India’s 105-year-old institution on animal taxonomy, headquartered in Kolkata, has tied up with a leading international science research centre.
NHM and ZSI have a shared heritage. NHM, founded in 1881, has been a world-class attraction with a vast range of specimens. And ZSI’s priceless archival fauna is available in museums all over the world, including NHM.
Though ZSI was established in 1916, it wasn’t until 1947 that India started housing its own collections here, thus making ZSI the largest repository of fauna in south and southeast Asia.
The MoU, valid for the next five years, was signed between Dhriti Banerjee, ZSI’s first woman director, and Douglas Gurr, director, NHM, on a virtual platform. Also present were David Gower, head of the vertebrates division department of life sciences, NHM; John Jackson, head of science; and Rosalind Glass, board of trustees, NHM. ZSI scientists and senior officials logged in from across India.
Though NHM and ZSI, the umbrella organization for biodiversity studies under the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, have been working on projects and exchanging specimens on loan, this was their first formal collaboration. “This MoU was long overdue. We are going to be mutually benefited on faunal diversity research through scientific exchange between two great institutions and a long-standing relationship,” the ZSI director said.
Gurr thanked the Indian government. “Since both ZSI and NHM share a passion for natural history, we can accelerate towards better science. Together we can preserve our crucial specimens and look forward to research activities,” he said. “The collaboration will not only benefit both institutions, but the millions of vital collections that are important nationally and internationally and help in sustainable management of bio-resources and the impact of climate change,” Gurr added.
“We wish to work together to collect, study and conserve faunal specimens for science and create and exchange associated data and images,” said Banerjee.
Through this MoU, the institutions are committed to implementing the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna, the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and relevant national and regional laws and regulations concerning biodiversity.
Source: Times of India