Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (June 3 - June 9)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Sunday 09 June 2019
A Golden Langur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A Golden Langur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons A Golden Langur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

MNREGA project in Assam to support tree-plantation for golden langurs

A new project started on World Environment Day, 2019, in western Assam, aims at planting fruit trees for Golden Langurs. Also known as Gee's golden langur (Trachypithecus geei), it is one of the most endangered primates in India and is found only in a small region of western Assam and neighbouring Bhutan.

According to a media report, officials planted guava, mango, blackberry and other fruit trees in the Kakoijana Reserve Forest in western Assam’s Bongaigon district so that golden langurs in the area would not have to travel to human settlements on the outskirts to find them. The report added that many langurs had been killed due to electrocution or while crossing roads in order to find fruits in human areas.’

Another remarkable aspect of the project is that it is to be financed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The report notes that this is the first time MNREGA would be used for non-human beneficiaries since it became law in 2005.

The total cost of the project is ₹27.24 lakh. A total of 10,575 saplings and seedlings of fruit-bearing trees would be planted under the project. Officials will also ensure that electricity wires in the area would be insulated in addition to speed limit signs being put up at spots on highways where langurs are known to cross.

Another relocated tiger dies in Sariska

A male tiger that had been relocated from the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve to Sariska, to reset the sex ratio in the latter reserve, was found dead on June 8, 2019. Known as “T-75” at RTR, the tiger was renamed as “ST-16” after it was relocated to Sariska in April, 2019.

According to a media report, the tiger had not been well since the past few days. It had reportedly been suffering from paw injuries which it might have sustained during hunting. It was tranquilised on June 8 and administered medicine. After being revived, it walked for a distance and them settled down at a spot where it was found dead.

While the cause of death has not been yet ascertained, the media report has quoted sources as saying that it could have been due to an overdoes of the tranquiliser. A team of experts from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute will conduct a post-mortem on Jun 9.

T-75 is the fifth of 10 tigers that were relocated to Sariska in the past 11 years but did not survive.

Perfectly-preserved head of Ice Age wolf found in Siberia

The severed head of an Ice Age wolf has been found to be perfectly preserved in Siberia’s permafrost, according to a media report. The wolf head was found in by a local resident named Pavel Efimov along the Tirekhtyakh river in Siberia, north of the Arctic Circle. It is believed that the head is the trophy of an ancient hunter.

The head has been dated by Japanese scientists to be more than 40,000 years old. Since the tissue are still well-preserved, the DNA will be extracted and studied by Swedish scientists. Researchers say the head is much bigger than that of wolves found today in Siberia.

The wolf head is currently on display at an exhibition in Tokyo where the remains of frozen beasts, including woolly mammoths, are being displayed.

4,000 live reptiles seized in raids across Europe and North America

Police forces across 22 countries spread across Europe, North America and other continents have seized 4,000 live reptiles in the months of April and May, 2019. The reptiles were meant to be used as exotic pets as well as for other nefarious uses, according to a media report.

Dubbed ‘Operation Blizzard’, the police action led to the seizure of more than “20 crocodiles and alligators, six Kenyan sand boa snakes found in air cargo in the United States, and 150 items made from reptile skins”, says the report. Investigators also found non-reptilian species including owls, falcons, swans, elephant ivory and bushmeat.

Six arrests each have been made in Italy and Spain and more are expected soon. The entire operation was coordinated by Interpol and Europol. It was undertaken in response to the illegal and worldwide trade in snakes, turtles and other reptilian species, many of whom do not have necessary protections under global agreements.

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