Environment Current Affairs

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.

Haryana Government launches Asia’s first Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme

Haryana Government has launched Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.

It was launched by state Chief Minister Manohar Lal by releasing 2 captive bred Himalayan Griffons vultures in the pre-release aviaries close to the breeding centre at Pinjore.

The vultures were released as part of the soft release or reintroduction programme, in a pre-release aviary where they would have an unobstructive view of the surrounding. This would help them in getting used to the habitat in which they would be released in the wild in future. These birds have been wing-tagged and were leg-ringed for identification.

Himalayan Griffon vultures: They are closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps species of vultures but are not endangered. The IUCN has listed this species as Near Threatened .

They are scavengers, preying on dead animals as they have a robust digestive system which can even digest disease-causing pathogens found in rotting meat of dead. Thus, they help in keeping environment clean.

Decline in vulture population

  • The main reason for rapid decline in population of vulture is due to Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is given to cattle in inflammation and pain.
  • Though vultures have robust digestive system, they are not able to break down Diclofenac and die of renal failure or kidney failure after eating carcasses of cattle administered with the drug.

Preventive steps taken by Government

  • The Diclofenac drug was banned by Union Government of India for veterinary use in 2006. It was banned to bring down prevalence of the drug in cattle carcasses and make the environment safe for vultures.
  • Later in July 2015, the multi-dose vials of Diclofenac drug for human use were banned by the Drug Controller General of India.

Union Cabinet approves MoU between US and India to enhance cooperation in wildlife conservation

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United States (US) to enhance cooperation in the field of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking.

With this approval, India will benefit from the expertise of the US Institutions in the field of (i) Wildlife conservation (ii) Combating illegal trade of wildlife and their derivatives (iii) Management of wildlife areas.

The MoU seeks cooperation in the following areas

  • Wildlife Forensics and Conservation Genetics: it will be useful in the efforts of species conservation and better scientific evidence collection in wild life crimes that will lead to better enforcement.
  • Natural World Heritage Conservation: Facilitate the existing institutional capacity of UNESCO Category-two centre at Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • Nature Interpretation and Conservation Awareness: Use of information technology (IT) to strengthen interface of forest managers with the people for sensitising them especially the children and youth in understanding complex issues of conservation of biodiversity.

Background

India and US are endowed with rich biodiversity and natural heritage. Both countries also have established a network of Protected Areas in their respective territories.

As both countries similarities in the field of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking there is common scope for them to share professional expertise to address priority in this field and the MoU would provide a convenient platform for collaboration.