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173 bird species threatened in India: Report

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 27 Juli 2014 | 22.33

KOLKATA: Over 170 species of birds in the country are threatened, with eight new species added to the 2014 Red List prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The eight species of birds newly added to the threatened list include the woolly-necked stork, Andaman teal, Andaman green pigeon, Ashy-headed green pigeon, red-headed falcon, Himalayan griffon, bearded vulture and Yunnan nuthatch, according to the list.

The latest IUCN list also shows that the newly discovered small colourful bird Bugun Liocichla from Arunachal Pradesh is now "critically endangered", as compared to the earlier safer status.

Relentless habitat destruction is regarded as the reason for decline in the population of birds, one of the best indicators of environment.

The IUCN prepared its report based on studies conducted by BNHS-India, BirdLife International (UK) and other partner organisations.

The list shows that a similar situation exists globally with 13 per cent of all bird species on the threatened list.

The total number of species recognised by BirdLife in the 2014 Red List is 10,425.

Among them 140 species are extinct, 4 extinct in the wild, 213 critically endangered, 419 endangered and 741 vulnerable, the IUCN list said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=IUCN,BNHS,173 bird species threatened in India,Record Date,net worth

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'Lifestyle' babies– A new culprit of climate change

LONDON: A new culprit has been found causing climate change - "lifestyle" babies.

Scientists have called for a blanket ban on free fertility treatment for those making "lifestyle" reproductive choices, such as sterilization reversal or single motherhood for fertile women.

They have also called for a legislation that makes fertility clinics subject to carbon capping schemes, in a bid to help curb climate change.

The US, for example, is the world's second largest carbon emitter, producing 20 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per person per year, which multiplies by a factor of 5, with the birth of a child.

This has made professor Cristina Richie of Boston College, Massachusetts, say that only those who are medically infertile through no fault of their own should be eligible for government funded treatment. She singles out fertility treatments (assisted reproductive technologies, or ART for short) because they not only produce a carbon footprint as a result of the resource they consume, but also create a carbon legacy.

And she points out "Assisted reproductive technologies are typically given in places with enormously large carbon footprints".

"Our carbon emissions don't stay locked in one country, but spread out across the world," she adds.

In her paper she argues that the environmental impact of medicine and health has largely been ignored, and that the ecosystem is already overtaxed.

While ART is not the most pressing environmental issue, none the less, it has created 5 million new lives since the late 1970s, and the number of babies born using these methods is rising steeply, she argues.

"It is therefore the obligation of environmental policymakers, the ethical and medical communities, and even society to carefully weigh the interests of our shared planet with a business that intentionally creates more humans when we must reduce our carbon impact," she writes.

"The fertility industry is just one small piece of the jigsaw puzzle of rampant consumption that leads to climate change," but it needs to do its bit to start to become more sustainable, she says.

She advocates that it adopt a carbon capping scheme, either by making a voluntary but legally binding commitment to meet emissions targets or by working to cut its total emissions, rather like the UK National Health Service has done.

And it ought to make free fertility treatment available only to those who are medically infertile, not those who are making "lifestyle" choices, such as people who have voluntarily undergone sterilisation; single fertile women who want to become a mum; and fertile same sex couples who want to become parents.

She emphasises that she is definitely not saying these groups should not have children, but she says they could go green and adopt.

The adoption process needs to be made easier, and society also needs to change its attitude to childlessness, she says.

"Retrenchment in all areas of life is the key to slowing down or halting carbon emissions that lead to climate change. For each child made through medical intervention, a carbon legacy results," she concludes.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias='Lifestyle' babies,free fertility treatment,Climate Change

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Elephants join tiger search in Bandipura Tiger Sanctuary

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 26 Juli 2014 | 22.34

MYSORE: Forest officials on Saturday continued their search for a tiger which recently attacked a shepherd on the fringes of Bandipura Tiger Sanctuary (BTS).

On day two of the operation, two trained elephants were pressed into service to find the big cat. Two more elephants are expected to join the operation on Saturday.

"Our intention is to disturb the animal, if any, in the vicinity so that it won't come to the same place again," BTS director H C Kantharaju said, adding: "We will continue the operation for some more days."

Meanwhile, the condition of shepherd Prasanna Kumar is stable.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=tiger search,elephants,Bandipura Tiger Sanctuary

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Big cat numbers rise in Uttar Pradesh

LUCKNOW: Camera traps have shown more tigers in the core area of Dudhwa tiger reserve this time. The initial estimates for two years, 2011 to 2013, have shown 72 to 80 tigers in the core area of the reserve.

Tiger census 2010-11 had counted 118 tigers in Dudhwa reserve. "The final count this time might be around 125," said PCCF (wildlife), UP, Rupak De.

The findings have been sent to the Union ministry of environment and forest for screening, said the official.

Camera-trapping exercise has been done for Kishenpur wildlife sanctuary and Dudhwa national park which form core of the reserve. Initial findings have also come for Pilibhit forest division which is now a separate reserve.

In all, 72 to 80 tigers have been counted in these areas. Once figures for Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary, North and South kheri forest division come, tiger numbers might go up to 125. The improved census technique could have resulted in more tigers getting recorded in camera.

It was an 'intensive' exercise as a pair of cameras was installed every 1.6 sq km of the core area. A pair of cameras was installed at 65 identified points in Kishenpur and at 206 identified points in Dudhwa national park.

The height at which cameras were mounted was also altered to record cubs, two-year old and less.

About a dozen new cubs have been recorded in camera.

At least 382 photographs have been downloaded from cameras installed in Kishenpur and Dudhwa national park.

Many of these photographs, said officials, could be 'repetitions' which is why the photographs would be screened. Tiger census is on since November 15 in the reserve.

UP has a major tiger population in Dudhwa tiger reserve comprising Dudhwa National Park (680 sq km), Kishenpur Sanctuary (204 sq km) and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (440 sq km); Pilibhit (720 sq km); North Kheri (350 sq km) and South Kheri (460 sq km).

Smaller tiger populations are present in Bijnor forests in west and Suhelwa (Gonda-Bahraich) and Sohagibarwa wildlife sanctuaries (Maharajganj) in east.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Union ministry of environment and forest,Dudhwa Tiger Reserve,Camera-trapping exercise

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Delhi among top 10 largest plastic waste producing cities

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 25 Juli 2014 | 22.33

NEW DELHI: Delhi figures among the top ten largest plastic waste producing cities in the country, the government said on Thursday.

"Based on a study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board and Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology for 60 cities in the country during 2010-11, it was observed that 10 cities viz Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Surat, Kanpur and Pune generate more plastic waste," Environment minister Prakash Javadekar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He said that while his ministry has notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011, the government has taken a number of steps for ensuring safety and health of workers through enactment of various statutes in the form of Factories Act, 1948.

"...constitution of site appraisal committees, compulsory disclosure of information by the occupier, specific responsibility of the occupier in relation hazardous process, power of the central government to appoint enquiry committee, emergency standards and others," he said.

Replying to another question, Javadekar said the levels of sulphur dioxide (So2) (annual average) are within the prescribed norms across the country.

However, the levels of PM10 (particulate matter 10) exceed the norms in majority of the cities whereas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 24 cities including Delhi.

He said that the government has taken various measures to check pollution which include supply of cleaner fuels as per auto fuel policy, use of gaseous fuel for public transport, pollution under control certificates for use in vehicles, stringent source specific emission standards, strict compliance of source specific emission standards, use of beneficiated coal in thermal power plants and others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=pollution,Plastic waste,plastic

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Man eating tigers on prowl in Madhya Pradesh

BHOPAL: Attack on middle-aged villager by man-eating tigers triggered panic among Baiga tribals living in areas across buffer zone at Bandhavgarh National Park (BNP) in Umaria and Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.

Gareeba Baiga, 49-year-old man of Umaria's Checheria village, is the latest victim of the tiger on the prowl. He was attacked by a tiger while grazing goats. The big cat tried to drag him to the forest, but was saved by villagers who gathered in large numbers after hearing his cries for help.

Angry villagers stormed a forest office, demanding protection and compensation for families of the injured. They deflated tyres of all vehicles of forest department, demanded on the spot compensation and intervention of top officials. They also attacked a ranger with canes besides taking three others employees hostage. BNP officers came and requested them to watch out for the ferocious animal and avoid forests.

The tiger has been on the prowl across an area spanning some 60 miles, they said. Police arrested three people for instigating villagers against forest officials.

Wildlife enthusiast Pusphendra Nath Dwivedi said the tiger must have strayed out of the park in search of prey. "There is widespread anger among villagers," he said.

Earlier, a 45-year-old man was mauled to death by three tigers in buffer zone of BNP in Katni district late on Sunday night. The dead was identified as Ramdas Baiga, a resident of Baghdhari village. He had left his home at 5.30 pm in search of a missing buffalo towards BNP's Khatoli range and did not return. The tigers ate him leaving behind mutilated skull.

Irked villagers blocked the national highway demanding compensation for the deceased's family. Forest department announced a compensation of Rs 10,000 to family of the tribal.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Man eating tigers,Bandhavgarh National Park,Baiga tribals

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Super smeller? Not dogs, but African elephants

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 24 Juli 2014 | 22.33

LONDON: It has been scientifically proven that the African elephant has the most powerful sense of smell in the entire animal kingdom.

Researchers for the first time examined the Olfactory Receptor (OR) repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs and five times more than in humans.

The authors then examined genome sequences from 13 placental mammals and identified over 10,000 OR genes in total. The repertoire of OR genes found in any given species was highly unique - only three OR genes were shared and evolutionarily conserved amongst all 13 mammals.

The African elephant had the most extensive olfactory repertoire with almost 2,000 OR genes. "The functions of these genes are not well known but they are likely important for the living environment of African elephants," said author Yoshihito Niimura. "Apparently an elephant's nose is not only long but also superior."

Conversely humans along with our primate relatives have much fewer numbers of OR genes compared to all other species examined possibly as a result of our diminished reliance on smell as our visual acuity improved.

Scientists traced the evolutionary histories of OR genes using a novel computational tool to deduce ancestral genes and then examined their duplication or loss in each species.

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People build bridge out of plastic bottles in Romanian city

NEW DELHI: The city of Timisoara in western Romania on Wednesday inaugurated a 23-metre (75 feet) bridge made entirely of over 157,000 collected plastic bottles tied together with wires, an AFP report said. The disposed bottles were collected by over 500 volunteers from the city to warn against the devastating effects of litter. The volunteers helped to build the bridge also.

Timisoara is an ancient city and considered the cultural centre of western Romania. It was built near the two rivers Timi and Bega. The area was marshy till it was drained and Bega was canalized.

Residents claim that the bridge crossing the Bega Canal in the city centre is the largest in the world built from plastic bottles. A commission of the Guinness World records has yet to decide on the issue.

This is not the first bridge in the world built from plastic but it is definitely the first made of only plastic bottles tied with wire, and also the first to be made by volunteers.

"We are trying to beat the world record in order to raise awareness about the enormous quantities of litter dumped every day in the rivers and in the oceans around the world," Radu Rusu from environment right-group EcoStuff said.

"Plastic bottles should not end up in the water, that's our message," he added.

In Peeblesshire, Scotland, a 30-metre long bridge made of engineered plastic was built in 2011 over the Tweed river at the Dawyck Estate river crossing. Rutgers University scientists processed waste plastic into a tough composite material that was used to make the sturdy bridge. It can take up to 44 tonnes weight and automobiles use it regularly.

In the US, there are several bridges made of plastic but they are very small. In the small town of York in Maine, a 26 by 15 feet plastic bridge was put in place in 2011. It is estimated that US citizens throw away about 35 billion plastic bottles per year.

The world produced about 288 million tons of plastic every year according to a 2012 estimate by Plastic Europe, an industry body.

An estimated 10 million tonnes of litter, mostly plastic waste, end up in the world's oceans and seas each year with fatal consequences for many sea species, according to the European Commission. This plastic gets degraded into tiny bits (called micro-plastic), making up what is known as the 'plastic soup' in the world's oceans.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=plastic bottles tied together with wires,devastating effects of litter,bridge of plastic bottles in Romanian city,Bega Canal

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Efforts on to monitor Himalayan glaciers

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 23 Juli 2014 | 22.33

NEW DELHI: Efforts are underway for the regular monitoring of the dynamics and climate studies of Himalayan glaciers, minister of state for science and technology Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday.

"Efforts are underway for regular monitoring of glacier dynamics, snow and glacier melting, geometrical changes and climate studies of the Himalayan glaciers," Jitendra Singh said in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He added: "A number of glaciers have already been taken up for long-term measurements on glacier-climate interaction by several government agencies."

Studies so far show the Himalayan glaciers are melting. However, the rate, amount and patterns differ.

"The Wadia Institue of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun has set up a number of Automatic Weather Stations to collect real-time weather parameter data at different altitudes in the glacierised areas of the Himalayas to assist and evaluate the climate change...," the minister said.

Jitendra Singh added that his ministry has also identified a few benchmark glaciers for continuous monitoring to understand their dynamics.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Himalayan glaciers,Climate Change

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Melting glaciers giving rise to new lakes in Himachal Pradesh

SHIMLA: Melting of glaciers is resulting in the formation of smaller lakes in the high hills of Himachal Pradesh and is posing threat to the population living downstream. A recent visit to in Chokhang area of Lahaul-Spiti by MLA Ravi Thakur along with forest officials had revealed that around 6-7 smaller lakes have come in the area during the last couple of years. A flood caused by glacial lake outburst in Chenab took place in the 1880s and it had smashed bridges beyond national borders.

Himachal Pradesh has 249 glacial lakes, of which 11 have been identified as having high potential for breach. Glaciers and ice-bodies cover a total of 2472.49 sq km (4.44%) of the total area of 55673 sq km in the state.

Lahaul-Spiti MLA Ravi Thakur said that they had gone to inspect huts being constructed by the forest department for the facility of pilgrims and tourists visiting Neelkanth Lake in Nainghar. During their visit they found around 6-7 new lakes along the stretch which were not there earlier. "Geologists and experts should study the potential threat of these lakes, in case of breach, to population living downstream besides to the 4.5 MW Thirot hydro power project located down the hill," he said.

Divisional forest officer, Lahaul, Heera Lal Rana said that these smaller lakes on way to Neelkanth lake have been formed during the last 2-3 years only as earlier they were not existing at their present location. He said that lakes were formed due to the melting of glaciers. "Soil in the area is very fragile and more accumulation of water could pose threat to people living downstream," he said.

During 2007-08, Geological Survey of India (GSI) had carried out preliminary inventory of glacial lakes in Chandrabhaga basin in Lahaul-Spiti district. For one particularly risky lake in Himachal Pradesh, namely, the Gepang Gath, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) risk mapping in field area was done in 2008, 2012 and 2013 field seasons. The study found that Gepang Gath glacial lake was risky and threatens the Manali-Leh National Highway and the downstream Sissu village.

Dr Milap Chand Sharma, associate professor at Centre for the Study of Regional Development in Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi, said that formation of glacial lakes at high altitudes is a common occurrence where allaround thick spread of ice and snow remains but melts only during the ablation season. Geothermal and geomorphological conditions, clubbed with global warming are supposed to be major causes of formation of glacial lakes, he added.

"Different triggering mechanisms of Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods depend on the nature of damming materials, the position of the lake, the volume of water, the nature and position of associated mother glacier, physical and topographical conditions, and other physical conditions of the surrounding area," he added.

Senior scientist at Kullu based GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Dr Jagdish Chander Kuniyal, who has specialization in environmental assessment and management, said that formation of lake due to melting of glaciers though is a normal process but their potential threat in the wake of breach could not be ignored. He said that Lahaul-Spiti falls under rain shadow zone where formation of small lakes is quite common.

Filed station to come up in Lahaul

To study the glacier behavior in the wake of concerns on melting glaciers due to global warming a field station is being set up in Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The proposed station would be set up either at Menthossa glacier of Miyar valley or Gangsten glacier right above Keylong town. The Himalayas have the largest concentration of glaciers outside polar caps with a staggering number of 9575 glaciers within India territory and of it 1239 lies in Himachal Pradesh alone.

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