Environment Current Affairs

India-Bangladesh join hands to protect spectacled Langur

India and Bangladesh have decided to take concerted conservation efforts to protect the rare spectacled Langur.

These conservation efforts will be taken to protect this species of Langur found in Patharia Hills Reserve Forest on either side of the fenced border along both nations in Karimganj district of Assam’s Barak Valley.

Decision in this regard was taken into effect at the meeting of higher officials of both countries.

The primary focus of this conservation effort is to preserve the habitat for the survival of the primates in the Patharia Hills Reserve Forest that is posing a major threat to the wildlife present in the forest.

It also seeks to spread awareness campaigns which will be conducted in the fringe villages to urge people not to destroy the forests for firewood.

Spectacled Monkey is popularly known as the ‘Chasme vala bandar’. They have white spectacle like patches around the eyes.

The Patheria Hills reserve Forest is spread over an area of around seven thousand hectares on the Indian side and consists of two blocks Patheria ‘A’ and ‘B’.

It is only the forest in Assam, where the Spectacled Monkey is found while Mizoram and Tripura are the other two states in the country where it inhabits.

Apart from spectacled Langur, the reserve forest is also home to the endangered Hoolock Gibbon and Golden Langur.

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Earth Day is being observed on 22 April

Earth day is being observed on the 22nd April every year. This day seeks to build support for environmental protection around the world.

This year’s theme for the day is ‘It’s Our Turn to Lead’ and is 45th anniversary of Earth Day.

On this day more than one billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns every year from all around the globe of all nationalities, faiths and backgrounds.

Background

  • The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Since then it is being observed in more than 192 countries.
  • The concept of observing Earth Day was formally proposed by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference on Environment in 1969 as a global holiday.
  • Later in 1971, a proclamation was signed to observe international Earth Day annually on the Vernal Equinox by UN Secretary-General U Thant.

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Punjab government approves release of Gharials in Sutlej and Beas rivers to promote eco-tourism

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on 17 April 2015 approved release of Gharials in Sutlej and Beas rives in the state to promote eco-tourism.

Initially, 10 Gharials (last surviving species of the family Gavialidae) will be released in the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary as a part of ‘Gharial Recovery Action Plan’.

Decision in this regard was taken after recommendations of the State Board for Wildlife.

Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) also had given permission for release of Gharials under Section 12 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

About Gharial

  • The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is also known as the gavial.
  • It is a fish-eating crocodile and belongs to one of the three crocodilian species found in the Indian Sub-Continent.
  • It is listed in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is also listed as Critically Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
  • In historic times it was present in Indus River system, including Beas and Sutlej rivers, indicating healthy river system.

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