Biodiversity is inextricably linked to human well being due to its influence on ecosystem services, functions and climate regulation, thereby necessitating conservation of biodiversity. India has some of the world’s most diverse bio-regions which host numerous endemic and endangered species such as: Asiatic Lion, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Jerdon’s courser, cane turtle and purple frog. Declines in their population have occurred rapidly due to several anthropogenic pressures in the recent years. Some species have gone extinct, and notable among them are, Indian cheetah and pink-headed duck. Habitat loss due agricultural expansion, urbanization, fragmentation of habitat by roads and dams, pollution, disease, in-breeding depression and poaching are some of the causes for the decline. Identifying factors causing such declines and suggesting mitigation measures require rigorous scientific studies.
Biotechnology deals with techniques and applications that allow changes and improvements in living organisms to provide desirable products for our use. The range of techniques and applications currently used in biotechnology could be also adapted for conservation purposes. Majority of species that are on the brink of extinction because of the rapid loss of habitat and genetic diversity, mainly come from poverty and strife ridden areas of the world and from global biodiversity hotspots. In vitro measures could be readily used for these species in an effective manner, so that their extinction risk could be substantially reduced. It also makes these tools easily accessible by variety of stakeholders. Developing and using tools and techniques to enhance conservation outcomes is "Conservation Biotechnology". This emerging field of science already has its share of successes. It has provided insights on propagation of endangered animals, storage of gametes and successful reintroduction of wild animals. The same tools could be also gainfully used to reveal aspects of behaviour, evolution history of species; strengthen both ex situ and in situ conservation; solve forensic cases; and help in early detection of wildlife diseases.