New Delhi: The world has missed a United Nations (UN) target for preventing some species from extinction.

According to Global Biodiversity Outlook 2010, a report released on Monday by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, some of these species are moving closer to extinction. The report adds that the abundance of vertebrate species, based on assessed populations, fell by nearly one-third on average between 1970 and 2006, and continues to fall globally.

Graphic: Yogesh Kumar / Mint

Ban Ki-Moon, UN secretary general said that conserving biodiversity could no longer be an afterthought and that nations needed to give it higher priority in decision-making.

In India, only one mammal, the one-horned rhinoceros, has moved from an “endangered" status to “vulnerable", an improvement along a semantic scale that is widely used. The eight-point scale rates species from “least concern" (those which face no threat to survival), through “near threatened" “conservation dependent", “vulnerable", “endangered", “critically endangered", “extinct in the wild", and “extinct". Of the 648 threatened species in India, only 11 are stable while 218 species are worsening in terms of population.

India is among the most biodiverse countries in the world, and ranks among the Top 10 on this parameter.

Nearly 91,212 species of fauna (7.43% of the world’s total) have been recorded in the country. It also has at least 45,000 species of flora, of which around one-third is native.

The outlook report is prepared after every signatory sends in country reports on action taken in terms of biodiversity conservation.

India’s country report says the Zoological Survey of India has discovered 65 animal species in 2007 alone and the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources reported 36 new fin-fish species. In the case of flora, 41 plant species were discovered by the Botanical Survey of India and other researchers during 2007.