Environment Current Affairs

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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Government signs $76 Million loan deal with JICA to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards

The Union Government signed $76 million loan deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for starting upgradation project related to environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling shipyards in Gujarat.

The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022. The total cost of project is $111 million out of which $76 million will be provided by JICA as soft loan. Out of remaining amount, $25 million will be borne by Gujarat Government as taxes and fees and balance $10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping.

Benefits of the project

This project will help Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations. This will attract more business at recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidate India’s share in global ship-recycling industry.

It will also help in safeguarding marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.  The project is expected to increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The JICA is governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance (ODA) for government of Japan. Its mandate is assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and promotion of international cooperation.

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