Wildlife Current Affairs - 2020

Current Affairs FAQs: Saharan Cheetah

For the first time in a decade, the naturalists have filmed a Saharan Cheetah in a Hoggar Mountains national park in Algeria.

What is Saharan Cheetah?

Saharan cheetah (Zoological name: Acinonyx jubatus hecki) or Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) is a subspecies of Cheetah endemic to Sahara and the Sahel regions of Africa.  It is a critically endangered fauna and its total population was suspected to be less than 250 in 2008.

How it is different from other African Cheetahs?

Saharan Cheetah is different from other Cheetah species in Africa because of shorter coat and nearly white colour. Its face has few or no spots and tear stripes are almost absent.

In which countries, Saharan Cheetah is found?

The Saharan cheetah used to be found in fragmented populations in western and central Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa. The main countries where it is found include Algeria, Chad, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. However, it is now extinct from most of the countries in wild.

What are key climatic adaptations in Saharan Cheetah?

This subspecies is found in hot and dry regions and has some behavioural and physiological adaptation to suit to the harsh environment. For example, they are predominantly nocturnal and can subsist without direct access to water for several days (by obtaining water from blood of their prey).

What is current population of Saharan Cheetah?

It is thought that currently, only 37 individuals may be alive in world in wild.

Australian Koalas become endangered in bush fires

The Australian Koalas population suffered an extraordinary hit in the bush fires of Australia. It took 3 months for the firemen to control the fires.

Highlights

Australia recorded 2019 as its hottest year on record. Around 1.25 billion animals are believed to be dead in bush fires. It has also destroyed more than 10 million hectares of land.

The Australian Koalas are to be put under “endangered” from “vulnerable” as 30% of their habitat were destroyed by the fires. The Australian Government has announced 50 million Australian Dollars emergency fund to save the wildlife affected due to the fires.

Australian Koalas

The Australian Koalas is herbivorous animals that are native to Australia. They are found in coastal areas of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The IUCN red list currently puts Australian Koala under Vulnerable Category.

Why were the bush fires severe?

The Indian Ocean Dipole was in its positive phase in 2019. This means, the eastern Indian Ocean (lying in the north west of Australia) was cooler than the western Indian. This drew away the moisture from Australia raising temperatures in Australia. The westerlies blowing hot air into the continent increased the fires further fanning them.