Environment/Ecology topics for UPSC 2015:
- RhoDIS (Rhino DNA Indexing System).
- This system is developed in South Africa and is in use in various african nations.
- Assam government is considering introducing RhoDIS (Rhino DNA Indexing System), a DNA-based forensic tool to probe and prosecute suspects involved cases of rhino poaching. The tool will be used in the collection of each individual rhino’s unique DNA profile and developing a database which can be referenced when producing legal evidence in cases of rhino poaching.
- RhODIS will be used to present as a legal evidence document for punishment of the poachers because in maximum number of cases, they remain unpunished due to the unavailability of evidence to prove them as poachers.
- As per the estimates about 2553 rhinos are present in Assam of which
• Kaziranga National Park has 2329
• Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park has 100
• Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has 93
• Manas National Park has 31
Project Sea-bird(Phase II) gets Environmental Clearance:
- Project Sea-bird: Indian Navy’s ambitious naval infrastructure project near Karwar in Karnataka.
- INS Kadamba is an Indian Navy base located near Karwar in Karnataka.
- The first phase of construction of the base, code-named Project Seabird, was completed in 2005 and Phase II commenced in 2011.
- INS Kadamba is currently the third largest Indian naval base, and is expected to become the largest naval base in the eastern hemisphere after completion of expansion Phase IIB.
- Minke whales were in news after the ICJ ruled that Japan’s annual expedition to the Southern Ocean was a commercial activity disguised as research.
- ICJ ordered ban on Japan’s JARPA II (started in 2005) whaling programme in Sothern Ocean in the Antarctic. The UN’s apex court imposed a temporary halt on Japan’s whaling programmme in Antarctic waters after hearing a case brought against Japan by Australia and environmental groups.
- The panel of ICJ decided that the whaling exercise of Japan is not justified. The court directed Tokyo to choose any one courses of action in this regard- either stop hunting the whales or redesign its hunting programme for scientific purposes.
- Though the ICJ judgment directs Japan to stop whaling in Antarctic under JARPA II but it doesn’t make any mention on its annual hunts in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, Japan is free to continue hunting of whales in the Pacific.
Sardar Sarovar Dam:
- The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has given nod to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam by 17 metres to 138.62 metres, which, on its completion, would allow Gujarat to get three times more water for irrigation.
- The new height would make it the second highest dam in the world after Grand Coulee in the US.
- A higher dam will improve the efficiency of hydro-power generation and water supply capacity of this project, and is likely to benefit not just Gujarat but also adjacent states of Rajashthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
- The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India. It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project
IUCN Red List 2014 released:
- FIFA World Cup 2014 mascot “Brazilian three-banded Armadillo” enlisted as Vulnerable.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released the Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014.
- The release includes lemurs, Japanese eels, slipper orchids.
- The Brazilian 3-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) is an armadillo species endemic to Brazil. In Brazil it is locally known as “tatu-bola” as it can roll itself into a ball.
- Lemurs are one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates on the planet as more than 90% of lemurs are now threatened with extinction.Of the 99 known species, which live on the island of Madagascar 22 species are critically endangered, including the Indri, the largest living lemur. 48 species of lemur are endangered, including Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world smallest primate. 20 lemur species are vulnerable. Lemurs are threatened by the loss of their tropical forest habitat due to rise in illegal logging on account of political instability and surging levels of poverty in the past 20 years.
- Japanese eel: It is a traditional food in Japan and the country’s most expensive food fish. It is endangered due to: Habitat loss, Unsustainable fishing, Obstructions to migration, Pollution, Changes in oceanic currents.
- The assessment of species is done using the Species Information Service Toolkit, an application developed in partnership with Solertium and IUCN.
Delhi : India’s first kerosene-free city:
- Delhi government launched Kerosene-Free City Scheme 2012 under which free gas connections along with LPG filled cylinders, two burner gas stove, regulator and suraksha pipe were issued to the Jhuggi Ration Card ( JRC), Below Poverty Line ( BPL) and Antodaya Ann Yojana ( AAY) ration card holders who were using kerosene oil for cooking.
- This measure would boost environment conservation efforts as no toxic gases would be produced from burning the oil, lesser possibility of adulteration in petrol, positive impact on air pollution and improvement in the quality of life of people covered under the scheme in addition to fewer fire accidents and burn injuries.
Lata Tapovan Hydro Power Project:
- The court had ordered a halt to 24 projects, including Lata Tapovan Hydro Power Project, that were proposed within 100 km of eco-sensitive zone from Gangotri.
- The court had asked the MoEF to form an expert panel to carry out a detailed study whether hydroelectric power projects both existing and under construction have contributed to the environmental degradation in Uttarakhand.
- Culture Ministry initiative to explore multi-faceted Indian Ocean.
- India’s Union Ministry of Culture launched “Project Mausam” at the 38th summit of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar.
- The Project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean region.
Bor Wildlife Sanctuary: India’s 47th Tiger Reserve
- Maharashtra’s Bor Wildlife Sanctuary will become the country’s 47th Tiger Reserve with an aim to bolster the conservation efforts of the national animal.
- The habitat is picturesque and is on the periphery of Nagpur and Wardha districts, amidst the Satpura-Maikal landscape, forming catchment of the River Bor.
- Bor is the 6th tiger reserve of Maharashtra.
- There are 48 tiger reserves in India which are governed by Project Tiger which is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. India is home to 70 percent of tigers in the world.
- In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2011 and 2,226 in 2014
- In addition to existing reserves, The in-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of three new tiger reserves, and the sites are: Ratapani Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda Tiger Reserve (Odisha) and Guru Ghasidas (Chhattisgarh).
- Final approval has been accorded to Kudremukh National Park (Karnataka) and Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand for declaring as tiger reserves by States.
The State Governments have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as tiger reserves: (i) Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh), (ii) Mhadei Sanctuary (Goa), (iii) Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary / Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary / Varushanadu Valley (Tamil Nadu), (iv) Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary(Arunachal Pradesh) and (v) Cauvery-MM Hills (Karnataka).
- Click Here to view all the Tiger Reserves in India
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