A Repository of Faunal Biodiversity

The BNHS since its inception has been involved in the study of Flora and Fauna of the Indian subcontinent. The movement which was started in 1883 by eight people exchanging notes of Natural History interest and depositing the specimens collected by them, has today resulted in one of the finest Natural History collections of Asia. As the Collections were made during pre-independence days, they include specimens from the Oriental region, mainly present day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Society’s collections include rare species like the Jerdon’s Courser, which was rediscovered and collected in 1986 (the earlier record was from 1900), the Lesser and Bengal Floricans, Great Indian Bustard and White-winged Wood Duck. The Pinkheaded Duck, now extinct, is a prized possession in the Collections of the Society. There are also many specimens of rare mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, beetles and other insects of the Sub-continent. This is indeed a very rare and prestigious collection of the faunal biodiversity of India, one of the best from the Oriental region, also including some extinct species. The Collections are the result of the extensive surveys that were undertaken in different regions of the Indian subcontinent. The bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian collections are catalogued and computerised for easy accessibility. Specimens have been identifie4 taxonomically to the species level and also include rare co1lection from extralimital regions such, as Myanmar and Sri Lanka. A total of 26,000 birds, 20,000 mammals, 7,500 amphibians and reptiles and 50,000 insects are maintained. The Collections have been accorded the status of a National Heritage Collection, being a precious asset of the nation.

The reference collections which are studied by researchers from Indian as well as foreign institutions, conservationists and amateurs in India and abroad, provide basic data on the bio-diversity of the 1ndiai region. The Society’s Collections, which cover a period of over 100 years, are most important in the present context of changes in the environment and loss of biodiversity. In many publications like the Book of Indian Animals, Book of Indian Birds, The hook of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians and the Butterflies of Sikkim Himalayas, the Collections were a source of information and illustrations.

Salient Features:

  1. One of the best collections in Asia providing precise scientific information on the fauna and their geographic distribution in the Indian Sub-continent and adjoining countries.
  2. The bird/mammal/reptile/amphibian Collection has been catalogued and computerised for easy accessibility.
  3. The Specimens are taxonomically identified to the species level.
  4. Rare Collections with species now extinct and collected from remote unaccessible areas.
  5. Specimens even as old as 100 years are in good condition and easy to handle.
  6. The Collections are open to all educational institutions and researchers from India and abroad for scientific studies