Environment Current Affairs 2017

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2017 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2017 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2017

India’s first electric bus service launched in Himachal Pradesh

India’s first electric bus service was launched at Rohtang Pass area in Himachal Pradesh. It is first of its kind electric bus service for tourist spot in India and first in world at an altitude of 13,000 feet.

The electric bus service will ply between Manali and Rohtang and there will be 10 electric buses in fleet. It was launched amid concern over environment degradation in Rohtang Pass area due to plying of diesel taxis. The initiative aims to curb carbon emission which is resulting in melting of glaciers in Himalayas.

Background

Himachal Pradesh Government was forced to introduce zero-emission transportation facility in ecologically fragile areas after National Green Tribunal (NGT) had taken stringent step of imposing restriction on entry of vehicles to Rohtang Pass. The NGT had shown concern over melting of glaciers in Rohtang Pass area as they were receding at an alarming rate of 19-20 meters per year. The entry of vehicles were restricted to 1,000 vehicles per day, including both diesel and petrol vehicles, however, electric and CNG vehicles are exempted.

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is high mountain pass on eastern Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.

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Snow leopard no longer endangered: IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has downgraded conservation status of snow leopard from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. It was changed after three-year assessment process by international experts.

The change in status comes 45 years after snow leopard was first declared endangered in 1972. However, experts have warned that snow leopard species still faces serious threats from poaching and habitat destruction.

Key Facts

Endangered Species: According to IUCN, species are considered ‘endangered,’ if they are fewer than 2,500 and experiencing high rate of decline.

Vulnerable Species: Species are fewer than 10,000 and its population has declined at least 10% over three generations.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is a large cat native to the 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 the northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations.

It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change. 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. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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