"As per the studies conducted by scientists and taxonomists of Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), 347 plant species and 424 animal species have been discovered in the year 2013 and 2014.

"The details of the species have been published as 'Plant Discoveries 2013', 'Plant Discoveries 2014' published by BSI and 'Animal discoveries 2013', 'Animal Discoveries 2014' by ZSI," Javadekar said in a written reply. Two species of reptiles have been located for the first time in the country, namely 'Boiga flaviviridis' in Berahampur, Odisha and 'Rhinophis goweri' located in Noolathu Kombai, Bodamalai hills.

"All endangered species are protected under section 38 of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 which empowers the Central government in consultation with the concerned state government to notify from time to time any species which are on the verge of extinction or likely to become extinct in the near future as threatened species, and prohibit or regulate their collection, and also to take appropriate steps to rehabilitate and preserve those species," the minister detailed.

In reply to another question, Javadekar said India ranks among the top ten species rich nations in the world and is known for its rich biological diversity and high endemism.

The survey and exploration of different geographical areas of the country has resulted in a repository of about three million National Reference Collections of plant specimens. He said that as per BSI, India has about 47,791 species of plants, while studies conducted by ZSI have accorded over 96,000 species of animals.

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