SG # 1097 (1983), Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) was founded as a private organisation in 1883 by seven residents of Bombay for the study and conservation of natural history. It has acquired a unique national role and international prestige by virtue of the fact that, though private and government sponsored collection expeditions, it was largely responsible for the identification and documentation of India's fauna and avifauna. It has published, for 97 years, a scientific journal which is internationally respected.

It has used this fund of scientific expertise to prepare a series of definitive books on Birds, Mammals, Butterflies, Trees and Shrubs, etc. which are calculated to create interest in the laymen, though relied upon even by serious researchers. Its books for children were recommended by the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the State Governments.

The Society's collection of approximately 25,000 bird skins, 20,000 mammal skins, 50,000 insect specimens and 3,000 reptiles is unparalleled in the country except perhaps by the Zoological Survey of India. Its Library has extremely valuable and rare books - making it an effective focal point for researchers in the field of natural history. This, combined with its long tradition of high scientific integrity and competence, has produced a series of eminent naturalists-perhaps the best known to contemporary generations being Dr Salim Ali - whose unbiased opinions are sought and accepted as authoritative by the world's leading scientific organisations.

During the past few decades, the BNHS has shifted its emphasis from the documentation of India's natural resources to providing the scientific basis for sound preservation programmes. Its best known contributions are towards studying and saving the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary at Bharatpur, the Asiatic Lion in the Gir, the Flamingos in the Rann of Kutch, the Nilgiri Tahr, the Estuarine Crocodile - and numerous other wild species and habitats. It was instrumental in formulating the wildlife preservation act of the erstwhile Bombay State, which was a seminal legislation in this field.

The Society is dedicated to all who enjoy nature; to those who would like to know more about the animals, birds or plants of India and the neighbouring areas; and to those who are interested in the preservation and protection of wildlife upon this green earth.

Stamp issued to commemorate stamp the centenary of Bombay Natural History Society.

Date of Issue : 15.9.1983