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Over 1,500 participate in march on climate change in Delhi

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 21 September 2014 | 22.33

NEW DELHI: Over 1,500 people on Saturday took part in a march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar here to press for stronger action on climate change, a statement said.

"India saw its largest ever climate change mobilization with over 1,500 people coming out onto the streets of New Delhi to press for intervention on climate change," the statement from South Asia Campaign Coordinator of People's Climate March said. i Citizens across the board from college students to rickshaw pullers, from school students to daily wage workers, from artists to working professionals, came out to demand action on climate change, the statement said.

A memorandum suggesting that India should take swift action on climate change was submitted to the prime minister's office.

"The memorandum contained what we call the 'citizen's climate agenda. We spoke to as many people as possible from experts to climate change affected persons to organizations working in the domain and have come up with actionable solutions," said Chaitanya Kumar, organizer, People's Climate March.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=People's Climate March,Climate Change

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Decline in wind may affect predator-prey balance

WASHINGTON: A new study by a University of Wisconsin Madison zoologist has found that declining wind may alter predator-prey relationships.

The study has demonstrated the way "global stilling" or declining wind may alter predator-prey relationships.

"There are all sorts of other things that are changing in the environment that affect animals and plants and their interactions," said Brandon Barton, a University of Wisconsin Madison researcher.

To find out how winds may have an impact on predator-prey relationships, Barton and his team grew plots of soybeans in alfalfa fields, protecting some with wind blocks and leaving others in the open.

They found two-thirds more lady beetles in the plots hidden from the wind, and twice as many soybean aphids on the plants growing in the open.

Wind has no direct effect on the aphids, tiny insects that hug the plants and anchor themselves while feeding with a needle-like mouthpart called a stylet, found the study.

"The aphids appear on the plants whether it is windy or not, and we showed that in lab experiments," noted Barton.

"But when you add the predators, with the wind block, the beetles eat something like twice as many aphids," explained Barton.

"Think of a wolf or coyote. Larger predators hunting by scent — and the prey trying to detect their predators — may be affected by less wind moving scents around," concluded Barton.

The study appeared in the journal Ecology.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=zoologist,University of Wisconsin Madison,University of Wisconsin,Brandon Barton

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US power plants world's worst polluters: Report

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 20 September 2014 | 22.33

WASHINGTON: America's power plants are among the leading global sources of carbon emission than the entire economies of Russia, India, Japan or any other nation put together besides China, a latest report said on Friday.

"US power plants are polluters on a global scale," said Elizabeth Ouzts of Environment America Research & Policy Center which released the report "America's Dirtiest Power Plants," ahead of the next weeks United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

"It's time to stop ignoring our largest global warming polluter, and start a major transition to clean power," she said, adding that the US power plants are world's third largest carbon polluters, edging out India.

According to the report, in 2012, US power plants produced more than six percent of global warming emissions worldwide, more than any other industrialised nation except China and the US as a whole.

The 50 dirtiest US power plants produced 30 per cent of all power-sector carbon dioxide emissions in 2012, the same as the entire economy of South Korea, the world's seventh-largest carbon emitter, it said.

The 100 dirtiest US power plants produced 19 per cent of all power-sector carbon dioxide emissions, the same as Germany, the 6th largest carbon emitter.

The Clean Power Plan would eliminate as much carbon pollution as the entire country of Canada produced in 2012.

Canada is the 8th largest carbon emitter in the world, the report said.

According to the report, there are 2,154 power plants in the US, which accounts for six.

Three per cent of the total global carbon dioxide emissions, which is more than the nearly six per cent of the total global carbon dioxide emission by the whole of India.

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Radio-collar infection kills tigress in MP

BHOPAL: The first tigress in India to be translocated to the wild after being hand-bred was on Friday found dead of an infection caused by its radio collar at the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. T4 had earlier being showcased as the biggest success story of a big-cat breeding experiment.

"It seems the radio-collar caused infection around her neck," MP's chief wildlife warden Narendra Kumar told TOI. "Rigor mortis set in around the maggot-infested wounds. This is the second incident of collar-related infection. In the first case, we had prior information and timely action was taken to remove the collar. This time, the wound was spotted only during autopsy."

The tiger reserve's staff received 'mortality signals' (signals from a constant location) from T4 at 6.45 pm on Thursday. On Friday, it was found dead near Mandla range in the Panna reserve, said officials.

Hand-reared after being rescued when two weeks old from the Kanha Tiger Reserve, T4 was released in Panna in 2009. She had three litters in the wild. T4's translocation and breeding at Panna had created a new chapter in tiger conservation history.

T4 and her two siblings were orphaned when their mother was killed at Kanha. Park officials picked up the litter and hand-reared the cubs with the plan to reintroduce them into the wild. T4 was the first among them to be chosen for the experiment.

After being released in Panna, T4 had struggled in the initial months. Another tiger, T3, had helped her to hunt in the wild.

In 2009, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) had criticized a 'wildlife intelligence report' that claimed radio-collaring had caused the deaths of tigers in the Panna National Park. The report had said radio-collaring hampered natural movement, caused neck infections and was used by poachers to track tigers. Asad Rahmani, the then BNHS director, had told reporters that radio-collaring was an efficient method that had been in use for over 40 years.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Panna Tiger Reserve,Panna National Park,Bombay Natural History Society

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Peacock's train doesn't affect its flight: study

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 19 September 2014 | 22.33

LONDON: The magnificent plumage of the peacock may not be quite the sacrifice to love that it appears to be, a new study on Indian peacocks has found.

Researchers filmed five Indian peacocks taking off using two high-speed video cameras to try to work out what price male birds pay for carrying the spectacular iridescent feathers they use in displays to attract females.

"These feathers weigh about 300g and can exceed 1.5m, so it's expected that the male birds would be making a significant sacrifice in their flight performance for being attractive — possibly giving up their lives if the train restricts escape from predators such as tigers and leopards in their natural environment," Dr Graham Askew, from the University of Leeds's School of Biomedical Sciences, said.

He filmed the take-offs of birds carrying full plumage in 3D, and then filmed the same birds taking off without their trains.

The display feathers, which naturally moult at the end of the breeding season, were cropped to judge the change in take-off performance between the two states.

To his surprise, Askew found there was no significant difference.

Askew observed the position of each bird's centre of mass, their wing motions and the movement of the train in take-off and then calculated the amount of power used by the birds to accelerate and gain height over the first two wing beats. He found it was essentially the same, regardless of the presence or absence of the train.

"Intuitively you expect that the train would detrimentally affect flight performance and so not finding a detectable effect was a bit surprising," Askew said.

"These birds do not seem to be making quite the sacrifices to look attractive we thought they were," Askew said.

"The train of the peacock is one of the most iconic examples of sexual selection in the animal kingdom. It has been thought that such elaborate ornamentation carries a functional cost for the bearer. These results therefore have broader ramifications for evolutionary biology's understanding of sexual selection," said Askew.

Askew also looked at how much drag the train created during take-off by mounting a detached train in a wind tunnel.

Although the drag doubled, overcoming that drag is only a tiny part of the power used by the birds during take-off.

Therefore, the impact of the train on the overall take-off performance is negligible, allowing birds with and without trains to invest the same amount of power in the ascent, researchers said.

The results do not mean that having an ornate train carries no costs for peacocks. Askew pointed out that the feathers might adversely affect flight stability and the birds' ability to run.

Just creating the ornate plumage is a costly exercise; male birds invest about 3 per cent of their daily metabolic energy budget in train growth.


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'Miracle' panda triplets open their eyes in Chinese zoo

HONG KONG: A set of panda triplets, known as the world's only surviving trio, have opened their eyes for the first time more than a month after their birth in a Chinese zoo.

The trio's births at the end of July were hailed as a "miracle" given the animal's famously low reproductive rate.

A video from the zoo showed the three cubs now covered with white and black fur squealing and moving about with their eyes open.

"The panda triplets have all opened their eyes and are in good, healthy condition," Guangzhou's Chimelong Safari Park said in a statement on Thursday.

The second panda to be born was the first to open their eyes, followed by the lastborn and then the firstborn.

The cubs, the size of a small dog, weighed from 2,678 to 2,886 grams (5.9 to 6.3 pounds), the statement said.

"Each one is starting to show its own individuality. For example, the third one is the most lively," it said, adding that the cubs are now living in wooden boxes.

The cubs' next stage in development will be to start walking, the statement continued.

The zoo also has said that a naming competition is already underway and will end in mid-October.

The gender of the cubs cannot be determined until they grow older. The mother panda, named Juxiao, meaning "chrysanthemum smile", delivered the triplets at Guangzhou's Chimelong Safari Park in the early hours of July 29.

A video showed Juxiao sitting in the corner of a room as she delivered her cubs for four gruelling hours and licking them after they were born. By the time it came to the delivery of the third cub, she was lying on her side in exhaustion.

The first known case of triplets from a giant panda was recorded in 1999, when a 15-year-old mother gave birth following artificial insemination in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

However the youngest of the trio died after living for just three days because of a bladder disorder.

Pandas, whose natural habitat lies in mountainous southwestern China, have a notoriously low reproductive rate and are under pressure from factors such as habitat loss. China has about 1,600 pandas living in the wild.

Their normal breeding season is mid-April to May.

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‘Lesser’ Florican prompts Madhya Pradesh to develop habitat at Sailana

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 18 September 2014 | 22.33

Bagish Jha, TNN | Sep 17, 2014, 05.42PM IST

This season, number of Lesser Florican migrating to state has come down by 26% as compared to last year.

Page 1 of 4

INDORE: Alarmed over continuous decline in migration of Lesser Florican locally known as Likh and Kharmor in Madhya Pradesh, forest department has taken up the task to protect and develop habitat of the endangered bird at Sailana Wildlife Sanctuary.

This season, number of Lesser Florican migrating to state has come down by 26% as compared to last year. According to the data collected from different sanctuaries of the state, till now only 11 Lesser Florican have migrated to state, as against 15 last year.

Forest department is planning to develop different variety of grass, pulses and water bodies across the sanctuary. "We are taking help from experts to identify species of grass, which is suitable for Florican's habitat," said chief conservator of forest (CCF) PC Dubey.

Along with grass and water, availability of insects is important for birds and, therefore, department has allowed free grazing inside the sanctuary. "Cattle's dung inside sanctuary will provide a breeding ground for insects," said Dubey, adding that Florican migrate here for breeding and they need sufficient protein diet for their newborn, and insects are an important source of protein for birds.

Ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who has been tracking movement of Lesser Florican in state for last five years said, loss of habitat and grassland is main reason behind decline in their numbers.

Gadikar said Sailana grass patches with tiny scrubs and small plants of Palash and babool would be ideal as Florican prefer mosaic type of grassland. The existing species of grass at Sailana is attracting herds of Bluebull (Nilgai), which in turn, is creating a lot of trouble for lesser Florican nests. The birds lay its eggs on ground, which is always under danger of being destroyed due to movement of Nilgai.

Change in crop pattern in the region is also considered as one of the reason for decline in migration of Florican. In Sailana, soyabean is being cultivated near breeding grounds of Lesser Florican. Soyabean needs regular use of pesticides to kill insects, which is main food of Lesser Florican. The bird eats insects killed by pesticides that badly affect them. Forest department is also contemplating to encourage farmers to cultivate moong, jawar and other pulses instead of soyabean.

Article continues

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Peacock's train doesn't affect its flight: study

LONDON: The magnificent plumage of the peacock may not be quite the sacrifice to love that it appears to be, a new study on Indian peacocks has found.

Researchers filmed five Indian peacocks taking off using two high-speed video cameras to try to work out what price male birds pay for carrying the spectacular iridescent feathers they use in displays to attract females.

"These feathers weigh about 300g and can exceed 1.5m, so it's expected that the male birds would be making a significant sacrifice in their flight performance for being attractive — possibly giving up their lives if the train restricts escape from predators such as tigers and leopards in their natural environment," Dr Graham Askew, from the University of Leeds's School of Biomedical Sciences, said.

He filmed the take-offs of birds carrying full plumage in 3D, and then filmed the same birds taking off without their trains.

The display feathers, which naturally moult at the end of the breeding season, were cropped to judge the change in take-off performance between the two states.

To his surprise, Askew found there was no significant difference.

Askew observed the position of each bird's centre of mass, their wing motions and the movement of the train in take-off and then calculated the amount of power used by the birds to accelerate and gain height over the first two wing beats. He found it was essentially the same, regardless of the presence or absence of the train.

"Intuitively you expect that the train would detrimentally affect flight performance and so not finding a detectable effect was a bit surprising," Askew said.

"These birds do not seem to be making quite the sacrifices to look attractive we thought they were," Askew said.

"The train of the peacock is one of the most iconic examples of sexual selection in the animal kingdom. It has been thought that such elaborate ornamentation carries a functional cost for the bearer. These results therefore have broader ramifications for evolutionary biology's understanding of sexual selection," said Askew.

Askew also looked at how much drag the train created during take-off by mounting a detached train in a wind tunnel.

Although the drag doubled, overcoming that drag is only a tiny part of the power used by the birds during take-off.

Therefore, the impact of the train on the overall take-off performance is negligible, allowing birds with and without trains to invest the same amount of power in the ascent, researchers said.

The results do not mean that having an ornate train carries no costs for peacocks. Askew pointed out that the feathers might adversely affect flight stability and the birds' ability to run.

Just creating the ornate plumage is a costly exercise; male birds invest about 3 per cent of their daily metabolic energy budget in train growth.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=University of Leeds,School of Biomedical Sciences,Graham Askew

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Scientists given rare glimpse of 350-kilo colossal squid

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 17 September 2014 | 22.33

WELLINGTON: Scientists said on Tuesday a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic.

The squid had been kept in optimum freezing conditions at the Te Papa museum in Wellington ever since it was brought back to New Zealand from the seas off the frozen continent during the southern hemisphere's summer.

The colossal squid is thought to extend up to 4-5 metres (13-16 feet) from tip to tentacle and weigh up to 500 kilograms. Its relation, the giant squid, can grow a lot longer but is much more spindly.

This specimen, like other octopus and squid species, has three hearts — one to pump blood around the body and two for its gills (lungs) — and is estimated to be about 3.5 metres in length.

"This one had two perfect eyes," scientist Kat Bolstad from Auckland University of Technology who led the examination told AFP.

"They have very large and very delicate eyes because they live in the deep sea. It's very rare to see an eye in good condition at all."

Measurements revealed the animal's eye was 35 centimetres (14 inches) in diameter, and confirmed that the specimen was a female.


(Scientists holds the arms of a colossal squid as they examine the squid at a national museum facility in Wellington, New Zealand. AP Photo)

"We were excited to find that out... as it turns out this one is a female, and it has got some eggs," Bolstad told reporters.

"This was by far the most perfect colossal squid that I have seen." The only other time scientists anywhere have had the chance to examine an intact colossal squid was in 2008, also at Te Papa, the museum said. That specimen was also female.

Bolstad said the latest specimen was so well preserved the scientists were able to examine it with an unusual level of detail, including the lens on the eyes.

"The fact that we have a specimen in good shape, but that we can get so much information from and still have in good shape, is a win-win," Bolstad said

The squid was found by a fishing vessel in Antarctica last southern hemisphere summer when the boat's captain, recognising what had come to the surface, carefully netted it and brought it onboard.

The number of colossal squid in the ocean is unknown but Bolstad said sperm whales in the Antarctic ate a lot of the animals.

After samples were taken from the squid examined on Tuesday, it would be preserved for further research and display, she added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=colossal squid,350-kilo colossal squid

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‘Lesser’ Florican prompts Madhya Pradesh to develop habitat at Sailana

INDORE: Alarmed over continuous decline in migration of Lesser Florican locally known as Likh and Kharmor in Madhya Pradesh, forest department has taken up the task to protect and develop habitat of the endangered bird at Sailana Wildlife Sanctuary.

This season, number of Lesser Florican migrating to state has come down by 26% as compared to last year. According to the data collected from different sanctuaries of the state, till now only 11 Lesser Florican have migrated to state, as against 15 last year.

Forest department is planning to develop different variety of grass, pulses and water bodies across the sanctuary. "We are taking help from experts to identify species of grass, which is suitable for Florican's habitat," said chief conservator of forest (CCF) PC Dubey.

Along with grass and water, availability of insects is important for birds and, therefore, department has allowed free grazing inside the sanctuary. "Cattle's dung inside sanctuary will provide a breeding ground for insects," said Dubey, adding that Florican migrate here for breeding and they need sufficient protein diet for their newborn, and insects are an important source of protein for birds.

Ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who has been tracking movement of Lesser Florican in state for last five years said, loss of habitat and grassland is main reason behind decline in their numbers.

Gadikar said Sailana grass patches with tiny scrubs and small plants of Palash and babool would be ideal as Florican prefer mosaic type of grassland. The existing species of grass at Sailana is attracting herds of Bluebull (Nilgai), which in turn, is creating a lot of trouble for lesser Florican nests. The birds lay its eggs on ground, which is always under danger of being destroyed due to movement of Nilgai.

Change in crop pattern in the region is also considered as one of the reason for decline in migration of Florican. In Sailana, soyabean is being cultivated near breeding grounds of Lesser Florican. Soyabean needs regular use of pesticides to kill insects, which is main food of Lesser Florican. The bird eats insects killed by pesticides that badly affect them. Forest department is also contemplating to encourage farmers to cultivate moong, jawar and other pulses instead of soyabean.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Madhya Pradesh fauna,Lesser Florican

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