Environment Current Affairs 2018

Snow leopard spotted in Lippa-Asra wildlife sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh

Snow leopard was spotted at height of about 4,000 metres in Lippa-Asra wildlife sanctuary in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Its picture was captured by camera-trap installed by State Wildlife Department.  This findings have ascertained that snow leopards are inhabiting new areas.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is large cat native to mountain ranges of Central and South Asia- including Himalayas, and Russia’s remote Altai mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. In northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations. It mostly feed on wild animals, but also prey on livestock. It usually hunts at dawn and dusk and is able to kill prey up to three times their own weight. In India, it is found in states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Threats: It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change.

Protection Status: It has been listed in Schedule I under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Appendix I of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and Appendix I Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). In September 2017, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had downgraded conservation status of snow leopard to “vulnerable” from “endangered”. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Project Snow Leopard: It was launched in 2009 to safeguard and conserve Snow Leopard (an unique natural heritage of high-altitude) and its habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions.

Lippa-Asra wildlife sanctuary

The sanctuary is part of district Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh and also is part of Moorang town. It was established in 1974 and is spread over an area of 3089 hectares. It hosts wide range of flora and fauna due to varied elevation, different climatic situation and topographical type of weather found in its vicinity y. This type of weather conditions thus helps in the survival of different type of species that are housed in the sanctuary.  The sanctuary has diversified wildlife that forms part of it. It houses wild species of animal like Yak, Ibex, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Musk Deer, Goral, Brown Bear and Himalayan Black Bear. The dry alpine scrub and dry coniferous type of forest are main type of flora found in this sanctuary.  Besides, dwarf juniper scrub, coniferous forest and temperate type of forest of Himalayan region is also found in this sanctuary.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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NITI Aayog expert group urges plan to save springs in Himalayas

NITI Aayog constituted group of experts has submitted report titled ‘Inventory and Revival of Springs in the Himalayas for Water Security.’ It has mentioned that nearly 30% of springs crucial to water security of people are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge.

Report Highlights

Challenges: Almost half of perennial springs in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) have already dried up or have become seasonal. Tens of thousands of villages in this region are currently facing acute water shortage for drinking and other domestic purposes. Almost 60% of low-discharge springs that provided water to small habitations in Himalayan region have reported clear decline during the last couple of decades

Dedicated mission: It has urged government to set up dedicated mission to salvage and revive spring water systems in Himalayan States, given their vital importance as source of water for both drinking and irrigation for the region’s inhabitants.

Key Message: It calls for spring mapping and revival, using 8 steps protocol should be taken up across Himalayan states in phased manner, applying carrying capacity concept to all major tourist destinations and implementing and monitoring tourism sector. It calls for setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.

8-year programme: It also has mooted 8-year programme to overhaul spring water management. This includes preparing digital atlas of country’s springsheds, training para-hydrogeologists who could lead grassroots conservation and introducing Spring Health Card.

Water sources distribution: Meghalaya with 3,810 villages with springs has highest number of these water sources in Eastern Himalayan States. Sikkim had greatest density with 94% of its villages having spring. In Western Himalayas, Jammu & Kashmir had both highest number of villages with springs at 3,313 and greatest density of 50.6%.

Background

Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) spans across states across country’s north and northeast and is home to about 50 million people who are heavily reliant on natural groundwater sources such as perennial springs. These water sources are under increasing threat from urbanisation caused by constant push for development and climate change. The extent of crisis plaguing Himalayan region was recently evident when more than half dozen districts of Himachal Pradesh and State capital Shimla had faced severe drinking water crisis in May 2018 after major water sources either went fully or partially dry.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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