The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established on 1st July, 1916 to promote survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile ´ British Indian Empire ´ . The survey has its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875. By gradually strengthening its staff and expanding its research programme, the Survey has met the challenge of the past and is on its way to meet the demands of the future. It has maintained its primary objectives unchanged from its inception.
Initially, the Survey acquired the Zoological collections of more than a century old from former Museum (1814 -1875) of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and Zoological Section of the Indian Museum(1875-1916) in Calcutta. With the increasing interest in the life sciences and with the advent of country´s Five Year Plans, the expansion programme of the survey was initiated. The Survey has established so far 16 Regional and Field Stations, and has developed into a major National Institution. It functions as the guardian of the National Zoological Collections, containing over a million identified specimens from all animal groups ranging from Protozoa to Mammals. Extensive and intensive field explorations are undertaken by the Survey in different parts of the country for the studies of fauna, systematic zoology, animal ecology, wildlife and zoogeography, animal behavior, animal population and also marine fauna and the results of the explorations and research are published in its own journals as well as National and International periodicals of repute regularly.
Recently efforts have been made towards an integrated approach to zoological investigations, so as to have more purpose oriented research comprising biological, cytotaxonomic, and ecological aspects. However, taxonomy continues to occupy a prominent role. There is an increasing interest in matters pertaining to animal life on the part of the public, and a constant stream of enquiries continue to pour in, reflecting public confidence in the Institute. The department has never lacked a constant succession of distinguished Zoologists.