Andhra Pradesh Current Affairs - 2019

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Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko: New species of gecko discovered in Andhra Pradesh

Scientists have discovered new species of gecko in the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh. It was identified from few areas in northern Mahendragiri range and scattered coastal hills in northern Andhra Pradesh.

The new species has been named Hemidactylus sushilduttai or Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko, after eminent herpetologist Sushil Kumar Dutta from Odisha.

Key Facts

Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko is second gecko endemic to this hilly range and third vertebrate as other endemics in region are — Gegeneophis orientalis — caecilian amphibian and Jeypore Indian gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis. It grows up to 225mm in length with its tail half its size. It is nocturnal and lives on rocks, large trees and coffee plantations at altitudes between 250-1,100 metres above sea level.

The reptile was earlier identified as different species and was misidentified as spotted rock gecko (Hemidactylus maculatus), a large-bodied lizard endemic to northern Western Ghats in Maharashtra. However, after studying its DNA, it was found that morphological characters of new species has many unique, diagnostic characters and these two species have geographically separated populations that deeply divergent from each other.

Significance

Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko is the 32nd species of house geckos (Hemidactylus) from India and among the largest in its genus. The genus has around 90 species across the world. This discovery highlights the importance of conserving this mountainous forest region of Easter Ghats as a biodiversity hotspot as most of conservation efforts are concentrated on the Western Ghats.

Home Ministry conducts Multi State Mega Mock Tsunami Exercise 2017

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) conducted Multi State Mega Mock Tsunami Exercise 2017 along the entire East Coast in 31 coastal districts across four States.

It was conducted through National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). The exercise was one of various activities conducted as part of observation of 2nd World Tsunami Awareness Day (observed on November 5).

Key Facts

The exercise was simultaneously conducted in 31 coastal districts across four States – West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (UT) along entire East Coast. It aimed to assess and help improve preparedness, response mechanism and coordination among concerned agencies.

It was for first time entire eastern coast will participate simultaneously in mock exercise. During it, disaster scenario simulating tsunami waves originating due to high-intensity earthquake near Andaman and Nicobar Islands causing massive tsunami along east coast of India was created.

Officials from all important departments such as Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police, health, education, firefighting, Civil Defense, electricity, transport, public relations, etc. participated in the exercise. The exercise helped participants to get familiarise with their responsibilities, actions required and also helped them to evaluate their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for tsunami warnings.

Participants from 11 Pacific Island countries also observed exercise to take away key lessons and best practices for responding to disaster situation due to Tsunami.

Background

Tsunami is a highly devastating natural hazard, and requires rapid response. India’s eastern coast is susceptible to both floods and tsunamis. The eastern coast of India had faced the devastating tsunami in December 2004 that claimed around 230000 lives. The devastating tsunami in Indian Ocean was formed due to high-intensity earthquake with its epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.  It had affected lives and the natural environment in six countries in the region including India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Thailand.