Endangered Current Affairs - 2019

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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.

Purple Frog to be crowned Kerala’s state amphibian

Purple frog could be soon designated as Kerala’s state amphibian. The proposal for this is being mooted by Kerela’s leading Herpetologists (a specialist in study of reptiles and amphibians). The odd-looking species is endemic to Western Ghats. The title would help in protecting species fragile habitat.

About Purple Frog

  • Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis (N. sahyadrensis).
  • It is also known as Maveli frog or Pignose Frog.
  • Features: Its body appears sturdy and swollen. It is relatively round in shape as compared to other flattened frogs. Compared to other frogs it has a small head and an unusual pointed snout (muzzle). In most cases adults are dark purplish-grey in color.
  • Habitat: For almost its entire life it lives in underground tunnels and comes out to surface for only a single day in a year to breed.
  • Distribution: They were thought to be limited to south of the Palghat Gap (a pass which is located between Nilgiri Hills to north and Anaimalai Hills to south) in Western Ghats, but are now known to be quite widely distributed in Western Ghats.
  • As per Herpetologists purple frog should rightly be called ‘living fossil’ as it is believed that they have co-existed with dinosaurs almost 70 million years ago.
  • IUCN Red List: Their conservation status is endangered as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).