Climate and Environment – Eastern Mirror https://easternmirrornagaland.com The latest and breaking news from Nagaland, northeast India, India and the world. Current affairs and news of politics from around the world, latest updates on business news, sports, arts and entertainment Fri, 22 May 2020 04:40:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-FavIcon-32x32.png Climate and Environment – Eastern Mirror https://easternmirrornagaland.com 32 32 Heatwave in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan till Monday https://easternmirrornagaland.com/heatwave-in-uttar-pradesh-rajasthan-till-monday/ Fri, 22 May 2020 04:39:50 +0000 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=313705 New Delhi, May 22 (IANS): The India Meteorological Department on Friday forecast heatwave condition for Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan till Monday while a day less in Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Telangana. The department also stated that the heat wave will continue over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, north interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal till Saturday. The deep depression, remnant of super cyclonic storm Amphan, weakened into a well marked low pressure area over north Bangladesh and neighbourhood early on Friday, the Met said. The cyclone left behind a trail of devastation in the West Bengal capital and other places killing at least 84 people across India and Bangladesh. Amphan made landfall in Kolkata on Wednesday, lashing coastal areas with ferocious wind and rain. Post cyclone, well marked low pressure area is now over north Bangladesh and neighbourhood. “It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a low pressure area during the next 12 hours,” said the IMD. On Friday, the department in its morning bulletin warned that Assam and Meghalaya can witness light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy at isolated places very likely over west Assam and...

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New Delhi, May 22 (IANS): The India Meteorological Department on Friday forecast heatwave condition for Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan till Monday while a day less in Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Telangana.

The department also stated that the heat wave will continue over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, north interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal till Saturday.

The deep depression, remnant of super cyclonic storm Amphan, weakened into a well marked low pressure area over north Bangladesh and neighbourhood early on Friday, the Met said.

The cyclone left behind a trail of devastation in the West Bengal capital and other places killing at least 84 people across India and Bangladesh. Amphan made landfall in Kolkata on Wednesday, lashing coastal areas with ferocious wind and rain.

Post cyclone, well marked low pressure area is now over north Bangladesh and neighbourhood. “It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a low pressure area during the next 12 hours,” said the IMD.

On Friday, the department in its morning bulletin warned that Assam and Meghalaya can witness light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy at isolated places very likely over west Assam and isolated heavy falls over Meghalaya during next six hours.

In Arunachal Pradesh, light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places very likely during the next six hours.

The department also stated that squally wind speed reaching 30 to 40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph is very likely over Western Assam and Western Meghalaya during the next six hours. It would reduce gradually thereafter.

The department forecast rain and thundershowers at most places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, besides Gangetic West Bengal, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura and Kerala and at isolated places over Bihar, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.

The maximum temperatures on Thursday were above normal — 3.1 degree Celsius to 5 degree Celsius — at many places over Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad.

Maximum temperatures were also recorded above normal at a few places over Himachal Pradesh, Saurashtra and Kutch and Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam.

The temperatures were below normal (-5 degree Celsius or less) at most places over Bihar and Jharkhand; at a few places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya and West Bengal and Sikkim; appreciably below normal (-3.1 degree Celsius to -5 degree Celsius) at isolated places over Chhattisgarh; below normal (-1.6 degree Celsius to -3.0 degree Celsius) at a few places over East Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places over West Uttar Pradesh and near normal over rest parts of the country.

On Thursday, the highest maximum temperature of 46 degree Celsius was reported from Vijaywada.

IMD stated that minimum temperatures above normal (1.6 degree Celsius to 3.0 degree Celsius) were reported at many places over Rayalaseema, at a few places over West Rajasthan and Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam; and at isolated places over Gujarat state, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Kerala and Tamilnadu, Puducherry & Karaikal.

The lowest minimum temperature of 18.6 degree Celsius was reported at Angul in Odisha, the department stated.

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Cyclone Amphan: 12 NDRF teams on standby https://easternmirrornagaland.com/cyclone-amphan-12-ndrf-teams-on-standby/ Tue, 19 May 2020 09:04:51 +0000 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=313282 Kolkata, May 19 (IANS): At least 12 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been kept on stand-by as the cyclone Amphan is likely to hit a large part of the coastal areas with “very heavy rainfall” on Wednesday evening. Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim and Meghalaya till Thursday. Cyclone Amphan (pronounced as ‘um-pun’) is expected to make a landfall somewhere between West Bengal’s Digha and Hatya Island in Bangladesh. A part of it may also make a landfall somewhere between Kakdwip and Sagar Island in the state’s South 24-Parganas district at a minimum speed of 155-165 km/hour (maximum 185 km/hour). Currently, the cyclonic storm lies centred over west-central Bay of Bengal about 570 km nearly south of Paradip in Odisha, 720-km south-west of Digha (West Bengal) and 840-km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh. Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday called up West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assuring her necessary assistance from the Centre. Sources at the state secretariat Nabanno said that Shah telephoned West Bengal CM this morning and spoke to her in detail about the arrangements made in various south Bengal districts. He reportedly told the CM that the Centre...

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Kolkata, May 19 (IANS): At least 12 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been kept on stand-by as the cyclone Amphan is likely to hit a large part of the coastal areas with “very heavy rainfall” on Wednesday evening.

Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim and Meghalaya till Thursday.

Cyclone Amphan (pronounced as ‘um-pun’) is expected to make a landfall somewhere between West Bengal’s Digha and Hatya Island in Bangladesh. A part of it may also make a landfall somewhere between Kakdwip and Sagar Island in the state’s South 24-Parganas district at a minimum speed of 155-165 km/hour (maximum 185 km/hour).

Currently, the cyclonic storm lies centred over west-central Bay of Bengal about 570 km nearly south of Paradip in Odisha, 720-km south-west of Digha (West Bengal) and 840-km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.

Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday called up West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assuring her necessary assistance from the Centre.

Sources at the state secretariat Nabanno said that Shah telephoned West Bengal CM this morning and spoke to her in detail about the arrangements made in various south Bengal districts. He reportedly told the CM that the Centre is keeping a close watch on all the developments related to the cyclonic storm.

“The Union minister also said the Centre is ready to provide, if needed, all relief materials to the state government,” state government sources said.

Earlier, Banerjee had already directed the state disaster management authorities to transport the evacuees to temporary cyclone centres for safety.

Three coastal districts of East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas are expected to be the worst affected in the cyclonic spell. Besides these three districts, cyclone Amphan is also likely to affect other south Bengal districts — Howrah, Hooghly, West Midnapore and Kolkata.

Round-the-clock control rooms have been opened in several districts to review the situation. Several steps have been taken by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Kolkata Police to monitor the situation on an hourly basis.

A centralised control room has also been opened at the KMC, Aranya Bhavan and the state secretariat Nabanno to keep a close watch on the situation.

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‘Amphan’ to weaken into extremely severe cyclonic storm — Met https://easternmirrornagaland.com/amphan-to-weaken-into-extremely-severe-cyclonic-storm-met/ Tue, 19 May 2020 05:10:28 +0000 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=313264 Kolkata, May 19 (PTI): The super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ in west-central Bay of Bengal is likely to weaken into an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ by noon on Tuesday, the Met department said here. The system, which was situated 670 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, is very likely to move north-northeastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal, and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts in the afternoon or evening of Wednesday as a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, the Met department said. The weatherman said that ‘Amphan’ is expected to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, after losing some steam as it approaches landfall, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 to 165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph. Gale wind speeds reaching 240 to 250 kmph were prevailing over west-central and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal, the Met office said, adding, it will gradually reduce to 200 to 210 kmph gusting to 230 kmph by Tuesday evening. The Met department, which has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal, warned of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore...

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Super Cyclone ‘Amphan’ over west-central Bay of Bengal, lay centered at 1730 hrs IST of today, over west-central Bay of Bengal near latitude 14.0°N and longitude 86.3 °E, about 700 km nearly south of Paradip (Odisha). (PTI Photo)

Kolkata, May 19 (PTI): The super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ in west-central Bay of Bengal is likely to weaken into an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ by noon on Tuesday, the Met department said here.

The system, which was situated 670 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, is very likely to move north-northeastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal, and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts in the afternoon or evening of Wednesday as a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, the Met department said.

The weatherman said that ‘Amphan’ is expected to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, after losing some steam as it approaches landfall, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 to 165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph.

Gale wind speeds reaching 240 to 250 kmph were prevailing over west-central and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal, the Met office said, adding, it will gradually reduce to 200 to 210 kmph gusting to 230 kmph by Tuesday evening.

The Met department, which has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal, warned of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.

There is likely to be disruption of rail and road link at several places, uprooting of communication and power poles and extensive damage to all types of ‘kutcha’ houses, the weatherman said.

There is also likelihood of massive harm to standing crops, plantations and orchards, the Met office said.

Wind speeds along and off the coastal areas of West Bengal will reach 45 to 55 kmph with gusts of 65 kmph from Tuesday afternoon, and will gradually increase becoming gale wind speeds reaching 75 to 85 kmph with gusts up to 95 kmph from May 20 morning along and off districts of North and South 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly, Regional Met Director G K Das said.

“It will gradually increase thereafter becoming 110 to 120 kmph gusting to 130 kmph over West Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata and wind speeds of 165 to 175 kmph gusting to 195 kmph over the districts of North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore from the afternoon to night of May 20,” Das said.

Under its impact, the coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly are likely to experience light to moderate rain at many places with heavy downpour at isolated places on Tuesday, he said.

On Wednesday, rainfall will occur in many places over the districts of Gangetic West Bengal, with extremely heavy rain at one or two places in Kolkata, Howrah, East Midnapore, North and South 24 Parganas and Hooghly districts, he said.

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Bengal on alert as Amphan approaches https://easternmirrornagaland.com/bengal-on-alert-as-amphan-approaches/ Mon, 18 May 2020 09:35:43 +0000 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=313111 Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) With Amphan turning into a super-cyclone, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government geared up to make necessary arrangements for the cyclonic spell that is expected to make a landfall in the state on Wednesday. State government sources said that special arrangements have been made by deploying specialised disaster management teams at Sagar Island and Kakdweep in South 24-Parganas district in Bengal. India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already said that Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm overnight. Sources said that at least seven National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in six West Bengal districts including East Midnapore, West Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah. At least 10 NDRF teams are also kept on stand-by as the cyclonic storm is likely to hit the coastal districts with “very heavy rainfall” on Wednesday evening. Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim and Meghalaya till Thursday. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for an emergency meeting on Amphan this evening with representation from West Bengal and its neighbouring Odisha. State Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee also called for a meeting this evening to review all the...

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Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) With Amphan turning into a super-cyclone, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government geared up to make necessary arrangements for the cyclonic spell that is expected to make a landfall in the state on Wednesday.

State government sources said that special arrangements have been made by deploying specialised disaster management teams at Sagar Island and Kakdweep in South 24-Parganas district in Bengal.

INSAT Satellite picture
A satellite imagery showing the super-cyclone Amphan brewing and moving in a north east direction in the Bay of Bengal taken between 2:00 and 2:27 pm on Monday May 18

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already said that Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm overnight.

Sources said that at least seven National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in six West Bengal districts including East Midnapore, West Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah.

At least 10 NDRF teams are also kept on stand-by as the cyclonic storm is likely to hit the coastal districts with “very heavy rainfall” on Wednesday evening.

Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim and Meghalaya till Thursday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for an emergency meeting on Amphan this evening with representation from West Bengal and its neighbouring Odisha. State Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee also called for a meeting this evening to review all the measures taken to tackle the situation that may arise.

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ZSI lists 20 species of amphibians as ‘critically endangered’ https://easternmirrornagaland.com/zsi-lists-20-species-of-amphibians-as-critically-endangered/ Sun, 17 May 2020 06:32:56 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=312958 Panaji, May 17 (PTI): The Zoological Survey of India has posted an updated checklist of Indian amphibians on its website, listing 20 species as critically endangered and 35 as ‘endangered’, an official said on Sunday. The 20 ‘critically endangered’ amphibians include some species of frogs found in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka and in some hills of the northeast, he said. The number of amphibian species recorded in the comprehensive checklist, uploaded on the Zoological Survey of India’s (ZSI) website on Friday, has gone up from 284 in 2009 to 447 now, Goa-based environmentalist Nirmal U Kulkarni, who was part of the checklist update exercise, said. “Among the amphibians listed, 20 species are ‘critically endangered’ and 35 species as ‘endangered’, he said. These include Raorchestes resplendens, a shrub frog found in the high altitude region around the south Indian peak of Anamudi in Kerala, Raorchestes kaikatti, also known as the Kaikattibushfrogfound only in the Nelliyampathy Hills in the Western Ghats of Kerala and Raorchestes shillongensis species found in Shillong. Besides, Pseudophilautus amboli, a rare shrub frog species endemic to the Western Ghats atAmboliin Maharashtra and Jog Falls and Kudremukh in Karnataka, has also been termed as critically endangered,...

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Panaji, May 17 (PTI): The Zoological Survey of India has posted an updated checklist of Indian amphibians on its website, listing 20 species as critically endangered and 35 as ‘endangered’, an official said on Sunday.

The 20 ‘critically endangered’ amphibians include some species of frogs found in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka and in some hills of the northeast, he said.

The number of amphibian species recorded in the comprehensive checklist, uploaded on the Zoological Survey of India’s (ZSI) website on Friday, has gone up from 284 in 2009 to 447 now, Goa-based environmentalist Nirmal U Kulkarni, who was part of the checklist update exercise, said.

“Among the amphibians listed, 20 species are ‘critically endangered’ and 35 species as ‘endangered’, he said.

These include Raorchestes resplendens, a shrub frog found in the high altitude region around the south Indian peak of Anamudi in Kerala, Raorchestes kaikatti, also known as the Kaikattibushfrogfound only in the Nelliyampathy Hills in the Western Ghats of Kerala and Raorchestes shillongensis species found in Shillong.

Besides, Pseudophilautus amboli, a rare shrub frog species endemic to the Western Ghats atAmboliin Maharashtra and Jog Falls and Kudremukh in Karnataka, has also been termed as critically endangered, Kulkarni said.

Raorchestes resplendens. Photo: David V. Raju

The updated comprehensive checklist will help herpetology students, researchers, conservation scientists and policymakers to understand the diversity of Indian amphibians and their up-to-date nomenclature, he said.

The newly updated checklist has also highlighted 19 per cent of amphibians as ‘data deficient’ species and about 39 per cent as ‘not assessed’, as per red list conservation status of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), he said.

A data deficient species is one which has been categorised by the IUCN as offering insufficient information for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made.

“It is high time to assess the IUCN conservation status for the Indian ‘data deficient’ 19 per cent, which are 86 species, and ‘not assessed 39 per cent, which are 175 species, of amphibians based on species-specific field explorations, Kulkarni said.

Since 2009, ZSI scientists in collaboration with other Indian institutes have been updating the Indian amphibian checklist periodically as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), he added.

The checklist has been compiled by research scientists K P Dinesh from ZSI’s western regional centre at Pune, C Radhakrishnan from Calicut, B H Channakeshavamurthy from ZSI, Calicut, P Deepak from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, and Nirmal Kulkarni from the Mhadei Research Centre in Goa.

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Five killed as tornado hits Oklahoma, Texas https://easternmirrornagaland.com/five-killed-as-tornado-hits-oklahoma-texas/ Thu, 23 Apr 2020 18:03:15 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=306700 Washington, April 23 (IANS): At least five people were killed and more than a dozen injured as tornadoes hit the US states of Oklahoma and Texas, according to officials. A tornado touched down in Marshall County near Oklahoma’s border with Texas on Wednesday evening, leaving two people dead and another person in critical condition at a hospital, local media reported, quoting Robert Chaney, the county’s emergency management director, reports Xinhua news agency. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for several southeast Oklahoma counties on Wednesday. In Polk County, Texas, at least three people were killed and 20 to 30 people injured after storms ripped through multiple neighbourhoods in the area on Wednesday night, according to the Polk County Office of Emergency Management. Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy has issued a declaration of disaster as there was a significant damage to residential structures, commercial structures and public infrastructure.

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This image made from video provided by Thomas Marcum shows a tornado seen from State Highway 48 in Durant, Okla., Wednesday, April 22, 2020 AP/PTI Photo

Washington, April 23 (IANS): At least five people were killed and more than a dozen injured as tornadoes hit the US states of Oklahoma and Texas, according to officials.

A tornado touched down in Marshall County near Oklahoma’s border with Texas on Wednesday evening, leaving two people dead and another person in critical condition at a hospital, local media reported, quoting Robert Chaney, the county’s emergency management director, reports Xinhua news agency.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for several southeast Oklahoma counties on Wednesday.

In Polk County, Texas, at least three people were killed and 20 to 30 people injured after storms ripped through multiple neighbourhoods in the area on Wednesday night, according to the Polk County Office of Emergency Management.

Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy has issued a declaration of disaster as there was a significant damage to residential structures, commercial structures and public infrastructure.

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4 new bat species related to ones linked to Covid-19 discovered https://easternmirrornagaland.com/4-new-bat-species-related-to-ones-linked-to-covid-19-discovered/ Wed, 22 Apr 2020 15:45:00 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=306154 New York, April 22 (IANS): Researchers have discovered four new species of African leaf-nosed bats – cousins of the horseshoe bats that are believed to have served as hosts of the virus that caused Covid-19. The discovery, published in the journal ZooKeys, takes on special importance in the era of Covid-19, according to the researchers. “With Covid-19, we have a virus that’s running amok in the human population. It originated in a horseshoe bat in China,” said the paper’s lead author Bruce Patterson, a curator of mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, US. “There are 25 or 30 species of horseshoe bats in China, and no one can determine which one was involved. We owe it to ourselves to learn more about them and their relatives,” Patterson said. “None of these leaf-nosed bats carry a disease that’s problematic today, but we don’t know that that’s always going to be the case. And we don’t even know the number of species that exist,” said Terry Demos, a post-doctoral researcher in Patterson’s lab and a principal author of the paper. The bats that Patterson and Demos studied are leaf-nosed bats in the family Hipposideridae. They get their common name...

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New York, April 22 (IANS): Researchers have discovered four new species of African leaf-nosed bats – cousins of the horseshoe bats that are believed to have served as hosts of the virus that caused Covid-19.

The discovery, published in the journal ZooKeys, takes on special importance in the era of Covid-19, according to the researchers.

“With Covid-19, we have a virus that’s running amok in the human population. It originated in a horseshoe bat in China,” said the paper’s lead author Bruce Patterson, a curator of mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, US.

“There are 25 or 30 species of horseshoe bats in China, and no one can determine which one was involved. We owe it to ourselves to learn more about them and their relatives,” Patterson said.

“None of these leaf-nosed bats carry a disease that’s problematic today, but we don’t know that that’s always going to be the case. And we don’t even know the number of species that exist,” said Terry Demos, a post-doctoral researcher in Patterson’s lab and a principal author of the paper.

The bats that Patterson and Demos studied are leaf-nosed bats in the family Hipposideridae.

They get their common name from the elaborate flaps on the skin on their noses that the bats use as radar dishes to focus their calls and help catch their insect prey.

The family is spread throughout Africa, Asia, and Australasia but its African members are poorly known to science due to lack of research and political unrest in the areas where they’re found.

To get a better understanding of how the leaf-nosed bats are distributed and how they’re related to each other, Patterson, Demos, and their colleagues at Kenya’s Maasai Mara University and the National Museums of Kenya, and the Field Museum undertook a genetic study of leaf-nosed bats in Africa almost entirely based on museum specimens collected in various parts of Africa over the last few decades.

In several cases, supposedly widespread species proved to be several genetically distinct species that simply looked alike — new species hidden in plain sight.

These “cryptic species” often look similar to established species, but their DNA hints at their distinct evolutionary histories.

The genetic research indicates at least four new and undescribed species of bats.

These new species don’t have official names yet.

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We’re coming up with a new set of targets to protect the natural world. Here’s how https://easternmirrornagaland.com/were-coming-up-with-a-new-set-of-targets-to-protect-the-natural-world-heres-how/ Thu, 27 Feb 2020 14:47:18 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=295023 David Obura, The University of Queensland Science and scientists are converging around the knowledge that our planet, with us in the driver’s seat, is moving into the Anthropocene. This is a new geological epoch in which humanity’s actions are changing the face of the earth and how planetary systems – such as global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles – work. Key to mitigating our influence on the natural planet are goals and targets. The Sustainable Development Goals are overarching global societal goals established by the United Nations. They knit together other conventions, including those designed to protect biological diversity and mitigate climate change. This year, the Convention on Biological Diversity is set to identify a new “Global Biodiversity Framework” of targets for the coming decade to 2030. These targets will replace the Aichi targets set for 2011-2020, and will also lead towards the longer 2050 goal: living in harmony with nature. The Convention on Biological Diversity, established by the UN at the Rio Conference of 1992, is among the key institutions established to protect species, ecosystems, their sustainable use and equitable sharing of their benefits. Of 198 countries on the planet, 196 are parties to the convention. They enforce its goals...

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Rich Carey/Shutterstock

David Obura, The University of Queensland

Science and scientists are converging around the knowledge that our planet, with us in the driver’s seat, is moving into the Anthropocene. This is a new geological epoch in which humanity’s actions are changing the face of the earth and how planetary systems – such as global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles – work.

Key to mitigating our influence on the natural planet are goals and targets. The Sustainable Development Goals are overarching global societal goals established by the United Nations. They knit together other conventions, including those designed to protect biological diversity and mitigate climate change.

This year, the Convention on Biological Diversity is set to identify a new “Global Biodiversity Framework” of targets for the coming decade to 2030. These targets will replace the Aichi targets set for 2011-2020, and will also lead towards the longer 2050 goal: living in harmony with nature.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, established by the UN at the Rio Conference of 1992, is among the key institutions established to protect species, ecosystems, their sustainable use and equitable sharing of their benefits. Of 198 countries on the planet, 196 are parties to the convention. They enforce its goals and targets through national legislation.

A key factor for success will be how well the new global goals and targets will address the real threats to nature and their drivers.

A second key factor is how well the goals and targets can be down-scaled to individual actions. Science-based targets help to translate global goals into actionable targets. Their purpose is to provide the link between high level goals and the targets that individual actors – cities, companies and even families – can adopt to do their part.

Science-based targets

I am involved in this process by providing my expertise on coral reefs in east Africa and globally. Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to the changes foreseen in the Anthropocene.

When developing these global targets, it’s imperative that the science is correct. It must link people’s actions to an environmental outcome. The science must also be understandable and communicable in a language that everyone can understand, and framed in socially relevant processes.

For example on climate change, we now have a global goal, under the Paris Agreement, of keeping warming to 2°C, preferably 1.5°C.

As simple as this sounds, it is based on over 30 years of scientific discussion, and is an understandable expression of a more scientific target – which would be 370 parts per million carbon dioxide concentration as the limit for a safe climate.

People understand the temperature goal much better. A politician can state it in a rally or you can talk about it with your child or grandparent. But to stimulate action, the relevant science-based targets are expressed in reduced carbon dioxide emissions, derived so each entity (such as a company) does its part to contribute to the global goal.

Developing biodiversity goals

The Aichi targets varied greatly in specificity and nature. Many only touched on whether legislation or plans had been developed. For instance Target 17 called on countries to develop biodiversity strategies and start to implement them, but without measurement of their implementation.

The new framework is being established through an open consultative process which started in August 2019, and holding its second workshop this week in Rome. It’s due to deliver its output before the next Conference of Parties of the Convention in October 2020. Any stakeholder is invited to make contributions to the process, bringing together a diverse array of country representatives, organisations and practitioners focused on both nature conservation and social issues.

The first draft of the new framework was released in early January, setting out five global goals, which cover the three main components of biological diversity – ecosystems, species and genes – and use of biodiversity. The draft goals focus on:

  • Assuring no net loss by 2030 in the area and integrity of ecosystems
  • Reducing the percentage of species threatened with extinction and increasing the abundance of species
  • Enhancing, or maintaining, genetic diversity
  • Securing and expanding the benefits nature provides to people
  • Increasing the benefits that are shared equitably from the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge

‘No net loss’

The “No net loss” ecosystem goal illustrates some of the challenges in creating these global goals.

The core of “no net loss” is a sense that the planetary system cannot afford to lose more natural functions. Already major elements of humans’ interaction with nature may be pushed to a limit. For instance, already 95% of mammalian and 70% of avian biomass is food for a single species – us.

We have also totally transformed 20% of the earth’s surface into farms and cities and another 55% is considered significantly altered.

No net loss requires that any further losses are counterbalanced by equal gains elsewhere. Key to this, and to developing the goal as a whole, are the basics of knowing:

  • How area is measured, as well as quality and function in an ecosystem. For instance, natural and plantation forests don’t have equivalent functions and services, so restoring these is as important as forest area.
  • Who decides what is lost, how much, and where complementary gains should be made.
  • Baselines: when should the reference date be? At the beginning of the decade in 2020, or at the end in 2030? Are losses until 2030 acceptable? Is no net loss with respect to 2020 in any way possible? What about losses before 2020?
  • Shifting goalposts: in the Anthropocene, planetary systems are changing, so setting a static target relative to 2020 or 2030 may be meaningless and counterproductive. We will need to predict and track a moving target – for example, an acceptable coral reef state given climate change in 2030 and a different level given climate change in 2050.

In a nutshell, the communication value of “no net loss” –- just three words – is immense, and for this it has great potential. But the devil is in the details, and a key question will be whether all parties and stakeholders involved can rally around such a global goal.

If so, we can lay out and agree on these details in a way that science-based targets can be specified that deliver effective, accountable and equitable action by all concerned.

David Obura, Adjunct Fellow, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Nagaland Forest, NGOs discuss conservation efforts https://easternmirrornagaland.com/nagaland-forest-ngos-discuss-conservation-efforts/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 18:50:02 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=292649 Dimapur, Feb. 11 (EMN): A programme to promote conservation of forest and wildlife, and associated issues was jointly organised on February 11 by the Nagaland Forest department, Nagaland State Biodiversity Board, and the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS) at the State Environment & Forestry Training Institute (Sefti) in Dimapur. The programme aimed also at mitigating the human-animal conflict, besides highlighting issues of wildlife crime; biodiversity and constitution of community reserves and biodiversity management committees. Around 120 persons including students, frontline staff from the Forest department and forest fringe communities attended the programme, a press release from the Sefti on Tuesday informed. The chief conservator of Forest, also member-secretary of the Nagaland State Biodiversity Supongnukshi, highlighted in his address the constitution and function of the state biodiversity board. He spoke about conservation, sustainable utilisation and equitable distribution of biodiversity and its benefits, the updates stated. He presented the constitution of the Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) and People Biodiversity Register (PBR) in the state, the press release stated. In his keynote address, Satya Prakash Tripathi, principal chief conservator of Forest, described the importance of forest and wildlife to life. “Human beings cannot survive without forest and wildlife. But, forest and wildlife can survive...

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Dimapur, Feb. 11 (EMN): A programme to promote conservation of forest and wildlife, and associated issues was jointly organised on February 11 by the Nagaland Forest department, Nagaland State Biodiversity Board, and the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS) at the State Environment & Forestry Training Institute (Sefti) in Dimapur.

The programme aimed also at mitigating the human-animal conflict, besides highlighting issues of wildlife crime; biodiversity and constitution of community reserves and biodiversity management committees.

Around 120 persons including students, frontline staff from the Forest department and forest fringe communities attended the programme, a press release from the Sefti on Tuesday informed.

The chief conservator of Forest, also member-secretary of the Nagaland State Biodiversity Supongnukshi, highlighted in his address the constitution and function of the state biodiversity board. He spoke about conservation, sustainable utilisation and equitable distribution of biodiversity and its benefits, the updates stated. He presented the constitution of the Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) and People Biodiversity Register (PBR) in the state, the press release stated.

In his keynote address, Satya Prakash Tripathi, principal chief conservator of Forest, described the importance of forest and wildlife to life.

“Human beings cannot survive without forest and wildlife. But, forest and wildlife can survive without human beings.” He highlighted the legal position of community reserves and biodiversity management committees, the updates stated. He appealed to the community to come forward for the constitution of community reserves and biodiversity management committees for possible funding by the ministry.

Further, Bano Haralu, managing trustee of the Nagaland Biodiversity and Conservation Trust exhorted the participants by telling them to protect forest and wildlife ‘as soldiers protect the country.’

Samriddha Ghosh, programme assistant of the project management team of WCS India spoke about the conservation efforts being exerted by the organisation. She spoke also about the status of biodiversity and conservation in the country.

Pradipty Bhardwaj, an environmental lawyer for WCS India, talked to the participants about wildlife crimes and gave an overview about the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, the press release stated.

During the programme participants and forest officials had interactions followed by a pledge to promote conservation and preservation of forest and wildlife in the state, the press release stated.
Nature conservation quotes and bookmarks were distributed to participants, the updates stated.

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Microplastic pollution is everywhere, but scientists are still learning how it harms wildlife https://easternmirrornagaland.com/microplastic-pollution-is-everywhere-but-scientists-are-still-learning-how-it-harms-wildlife/ Fri, 31 Jan 2020 16:39:00 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=291025 Kennedy Bucci, University of Toronto and Chelsea Rochman, University of Toronto Plastic pollution is a growing global concern. Large pieces of plastic have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the most visited beaches to remote, uninhabited islands. Because wildlife are regularly exposed to plastic pollution, we often ask what effects plastics have on the animals. Over time, macroplastics (plastic debris larger than five millimetres in size) break up into tiny particles called microplastics (smaller than five millimetres), which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Macroplastics are known to cause detrimental effects for wildlife. Individual animals can ingest large pieces or become entangled in plastic items, such as fishing gear, and suffocate or starve to death. Although there is no question that macroplastics are harmful to wildlife, the effects of microplastics are not as straightforward. While many studies find microplastics can affect the gene expression, growth, reproduction or survival of an animal, others conclude that microplastics have no negative effects. The lack of clear consensus makes it more difficult for decision-makers to enact effective policies to mitigate plastic pollution. Not all plastics are the same We recently took a deep dive into the research that has looked...

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Large plastics break up into tiny particles called microplastics that can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. (Shutterstock)

Kennedy Bucci, University of Toronto and Chelsea Rochman, University of Toronto

Plastic pollution is a growing global concern. Large pieces of plastic have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the most visited beaches to remote, uninhabited islands. Because wildlife are regularly exposed to plastic pollution, we often ask what effects plastics have on the animals.

Over time, macroplastics (plastic debris larger than five millimetres in size) break up into tiny particles called microplastics (smaller than five millimetres), which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

Macroplastics are known to cause detrimental effects for wildlife. Individual animals can ingest large pieces or become entangled in plastic items, such as fishing gear, and suffocate or starve to death. Although there is no question that macroplastics are harmful to wildlife, the effects of microplastics are not as straightforward.

While many studies find microplastics can affect the gene expression, growth, reproduction or survival of an animal, others conclude that microplastics have no negative effects. The lack of clear consensus makes it more difficult for decision-makers to enact effective policies to mitigate plastic pollution.

Not all plastics are the same

We recently took a deep dive into the research that has looked at how plastic pollution affects aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

We found that while macroplastics continue to cause detrimental effects to individual animals, they are also causing larger-scale changes to populations of animals, communities and ecosystems. For example, plastic pollution can introduce invasive species to new habitats by transporting organisms hundreds of kilometres from their native range, changing the composition of species in a community.

The effects of microplastics, however, are much more complicated. Of the studies we included in our review, nearly half (45 per cent) found that microplastics caused an effect. Some studies saw that microplastics caused animals to have shorter lives, eat less or swim slower, and others saw changes in the number of offspring produced, and changes in the genes being expressed. Yet 55 per cent of the studies didn’t detect any effects.


Read more: Beyond our oceans: Microplastics pollute rivers and lakes too


Why do some studies detect effects while others do not? There are several possibilities. For one, the researchers used different experimental designs in their lab experiments.

There’s also the issue of using the term microplastics, which refers to a complex mixture of plastics that vary in material (such as polyethylene, polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride), the chemicals associated with them (including additives, fillers and dyes), as well as their size and shape. Each of these characteristics, along with how much plastic the animal is exposed to in the experiment, could affect their potential to detect an effect.

Microfibres and microbeads

For example, we saw that when studies exposed crustaceans to polystyrene, a type of plastic used to make disposable containers, lids and cutlery, the crustaceans generally produced more offspring. But when they were exposed to polyethylene or polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make plastic bags and beverage bottles, the crustaceans produced fewer offspring.

We also found that studies using smaller particles are more likely to detect an effect. This may be because smaller particles are more easily consumed by small organisms, or because they can move across the cell membrane and cause harmful effects such as inflammation.

Microbeads are found in exfoliating products such as face cleansers and toothpaste. Several countries have banned their production and sale. (Shutterstock)

When it came to the shape of the plastic, microfibres (from clothing or rope) and fragments were more likely to have a negative effect on the organism compared to spheres (from facial cleansing products). For example, one study found that microfibres were more toxic to a species of marine shrimp than microplastic fragments or spheres.

Finally, one might expect animals to be more harmed when they are exposed to higher concentrations of microplastics. While it’s true that crustaceans were more likely to die when exposed to increasing doses of microplastics, the effect on reproduction was more complex. The number of offspring increased with extremely high doses, but decreased at lower doses, similar to what is seen in the environment.

Many types, many outcomes

Based on our review, we believe future research needs to recognize the complexity of microplastics and scientists need to design their tests strategically so that we can really understand how the different types, sizes, shapes, doses and the duration of exposure to microplastics affect wildlife.

Several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and United States have recently banned plastic microbeads — the spherical beads and fragments in face wash, body scrubs and toothpaste — because they were contaminating the environment and could cause negative effects in aquatic animals. Although this legislation reduces one type of microplastic in the environment, it is irrelevant to countless others.

Only if we have a better understanding of how the different types, shapes and concentrations of microplastics affect wildlife can we make better policy decisions. If, for example, microfibres are indeed found to be more harmful than spheres, we could focus our attention on keeping these fibres from entering our waterways from known sources, such as from washing machines.

Kennedy Bucci, PhD Student, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto and Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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