27th November 2019 : UPSC Current Affairs : Prelims Sure Shot

Sumatran Rhino

Why in news

  • Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia.

Sumatran Rhino:

  • The Sumatran rhino is the smallest of the five extant rhino species in the world.
  • The other species include the White Rhino, the Black Rhino, the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros and the Javan Rhino.

Location and Habitat:

  • Location:once found across parts of Southeast Asia, including the foothills of Bhutan and northeast India, southern China, Cambodia and Thailand, they are now restricted to just a few sites in Sumatra and Borneo, in Indonesia.
  • Habitat:the Sumatran rhino lives in dense tropical forest, in both the lowlands and highlands. Sumatran rhinos are well adapted to life in very dense tropical forests.
  • They are primarily attracted to areas with plentiful food resources, such as shrubs, fruits, shoots, leaves and roots.

Sumatran Rhinos in India:

  • In India the Sumatran Rhinos occurred in parts of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Chittagong hills in the 19th century.
  • The species is now extinct in India.

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered


Coalbed Methane (CBM)

Why in news

  • The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India, with the Gondwana sediments of eastern India holding the bulk.

From the news:

  • India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
  • The vast majority of the best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley. 
  • Son valley includes the Sonhat North and Sohagpur East and West blocks.

What is coalbed methane?

  • CBM is extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas.

The Formation:

  • CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal.
  • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater.
  • The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.

What are the uses of CBM?

CBM can be used for:

  • Power generation,
  • As compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel,
  • As feedstock for fertilisers,
  • Industrial uses such as in cement production,
  • Rolling mills,
  • Steel plants, and
  • For methanol production.

The environmental impacts of CBM:

  • Methane is a greenhouse gas emitted through CBM extraction.
  • Global methane emissions from coal mines are projected to account for approximately 8 percent of total global methane emissions.
  • Disturbance of lands drilled and its effect on wildlife habitats results in ecosystem damage.


The Atapaka Bird Sanctuary and Kolleru Lake

Why in news

  • When Painted Storks and Pelicans come home to roost in AP’s Kolleru Lake.

Kolleru Lake

  • Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India located in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is located between Krishna and Godavari deltas.
  • It spans into 2 districts of Andhra Pradesh Krishna and West Godavari.
  • It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in November 1999 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and designated a wetland of international importance in November 2001 under Ramsar convention.
  • It is important habitat for resident and migratory birds, including the grey or spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis).
  • Many birds migrate here in winter, such as Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks.

Atapaka Bird Sanctuary

  • Atapaka Bird Sanctuary is located in Kolleru Lake on the borders of Krishna and West Godavari districts, and has been identified as the largest spot-billed pelican home in the world.
  • Atapaka is one of the largest pelicanry in the world as Thousands of pelicans, painted storks and other birds will visit the lake during winter season, roost, breed and fly with their off springs.
  • About 22,000 grey headed pelicans are spread across the globe, of which about 35 to 40 per cent were roosting at Atakapa Bird Sanctuary.
  • Every year Pelican Bird Festival is organised in Atapaka Bird Sanctuary.

The Grey Pelican

  • The Grey Pelican also called the Spot Billed Pelican is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and in the Red Data Book.
  • It is also considered a “globally threatened species” under the “vulnerable” category.

National Wildlife Action Plan

Why in news

  • The information about Census of major flagship species was provided by Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

More Information

  • Census of major flagship species is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State/Union Territory Governments periodically.
  • However census of tiger and elephant is undertaken at the national level once every four and five years respectively.
  • As per the report of the latest census carried out by the state and central government, the population of endangered species especially lions, rhinos, tigers, and elephants has increased in country.

National Wildlife Action Plan

  • The Ministry has formulated the 3rd‘National Wildlife Action Plan’ for a period of 2017 to 2031 to save wild animals in the country.
  • The Plan focuses landscape approach in conservation of all wildlife irrespective of where they occur. 
  • It also gives special emphasis to recovery of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which includes terrestrial, inland aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems.

The measures taken by the Government to control illegal killing and poaching of wild animals are:

  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 provides for punishment for violation of its provisions.
  • The Act also provides for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing wildlife offence(s).
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been set up to achieve inter-state and trans-boundary coordination in enforcement of wildlife laws.
  • Financial assistance is provided to the State/Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’, ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’, for providing better protection to wildlife and improvement of habitat.


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