Environment & Biodiversity Current Affairs - 2019

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2019 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2019.

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 New Viper species Discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

A team of herpetologists (specialized in study of reptiles and amphibians) have discovered a more advanced new species of reddish-brown pit viper from Arunachal Pradesh. Their discovery was published in Russian Journal of Herpetology.

About the Viper

  • Scientific Name (of discovered Arunachal pit viper): Trimeresurus arunachalensis. This discovery of new species makes Arunachal Pradesh only Indian state to have a pit viper named after it.
  • Discovery: The research team from Pune-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, found the snake species while conducting biodiversity surveys in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, in in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Significance: The viper discovered is never described before therefore this single known specimen of this species makes it currently the rarest pit viper in the world.
  • Type: It is a species of reddish-brown pit viper, a venomous snake.
  • It has a unique heat-sensing system.

Earlier Discoveries

  • With this, India is now home to fifth brown pit viper. The other four brown pit vipers are Hump-Nosed, Horseshoe, Malabar, and Himalayan who were discovered about 70 years ago.
  • This new discovery makes Arunachal pit viper the second serpent to have been discovered in state after Crying Keelback, a non-venomous snake was found in Arunacal’s Lepa-Rada district in 2018.

NOTE

The Vipers (or Viperidae) are a family of venomous snakes found in most parts of world. All such species have relatively long, hinged fangs that permit deep penetration and injection of snake venom.

Month:  Categories: Environment & Biodiversity

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Royal Bengal Tigers may not survive Climate Change: UN Report

According to a recent UN report, Climate change and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out ‘The Sundarbans’, which is one of world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The studies of report rely on climate change scenarios developed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.

Key Findings of Report

  • As per UN findings if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.
  • In 2010, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, a Non-governmental organization) estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades.
  • By 2070, there will be not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
  • 70% of Sundarbans is just a few feet above sea level, thus faces grave threat due to climate changes. It is one of the prime habitats of Bengal tigers, who are among 500,000 land species whose survival is in question because of threats to their natural habitats due to climate change.
  • Once the Sundarbans are flooded it may lead to increased confrontations (conflict) between humans and tigers, as the latter would stray outside their habitat in search of new land.
  • Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn’t taken soon there won’t be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.

About Sundarbans

  • They are 10,000 square kilometres of marshy mangroves ecosystem shared between Bangladesh and India.
  • They hosts world’s largest mangrove forest and a rich ecosystem that supports hundreds of animal species, including Bengal tiger.
  • They are only mangrove forests in world where Bengal tigers are found.

About Bengal tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris)

  • It is national animal of India and Bangladesh.
  • It found predominantly in India with some populations in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar.
  • Initiatives by India: As Bengal tiger species is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies (about 2,500 left in wild) Indian government undertakes various initiave to in a bid to conserve species. The Project Tiger launched in 1973 was India’s first-ever tiger conservation programme.
  • IUCN Red List Status is endangered.
  • Since early 1900s, hunting, poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade of animal parts (to meet growing demand in Asia) have decreased global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000 and puy the species at risk.

Month:  Categories: Environment & BiodiversityUPSC

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