Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Albino Palm Civet Sighted

    Recently, an albino common palm civet has made a comeback in Odisha after 129 years in Satkosia Tiger Reserve (STR).

    • Scientific Name: Paradoxurus hermaphrodites
    • Features
      • It is a small carnivore mammal belonging to the family Viverridae.
      • Their long, stocky body is covered with coarse, shaggy hair that is usually grey in colour.
      • It is both terrestrial and arboreal and shows a nocturnal activity pattern.
    • Habitat
      • It can be found in southern and southeastern Asia.
      • These are most commonly found in southern China, Sri Lanka and southern India.
      • Due to the tropical environment, they are able to manage warm temperatures and high humidity.
    • Threats
      • Bushmeat and pet trades, as well as being captured for the Kopi Luwak coffee trade, which uses coffee beans fermented in a palm civet’s digestive tract.
      • Deforestation and clearing for palm oil plantations leading to loss of habitat.

    (Image Courtesy: AZA)

    • Albinism
      • It is a hypo-pigmentary disorder with a total lack of melanin in hair, eyes and skin.
      • It happens due to the heritable absence of functional tyrosinase enzymes in pigment cells affecting skin and hair.
      • This results in a total white plumage/fur with red eyes. 
      • It is controlled via inheritance by an autosomal recessive gene in all animal species.
      • The extent and appearance of albinism varies and can be broadly described as complete albinism and leucism (partial albinism).

    Sardar Patel National Unity Award

    Recently, nominations for the Sardar Patel National Unity Award have been opened.

    • It is the highest civilian award in the field of contribution to the unity and integrity of India.
    • It seeks to recognize notable and inspiring contributions to promote the cause of national unity and integrity and to reinforce the value of a strong and united India.
    • These are announced on the National Unity Day, i.e. the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on 31st October.
    • It consists of a medal and a citation and no monetary grant or cash award are attached.
    • Not more than three Awards shall be given in a year.
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs receives the nominations online.
    • Eligibility
      • Any citizen of India without distinction of religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth, age or occupation and any institution/organization.
      • Any Indian national or institution or organization based in India may nominate an individual or institution or organization for consideration for the award.
      • Individuals, institutions and organizations can also nominate themselves.

    (Image Courtesy: PIB)

    Tidal Wave

    Recently, Ramayapalli village in Odisha’s Ganjam district has witnessed a tidal wave.

    • A tidal wave is a regularly reoccurring shallow water wave caused by the gravitational interactions between the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
    • The term “tidal wave” is often used to refer to tsunamis; however, this reference is incorrect as tsunamis have nothing to do with tides.
    • Although both are sea waves, a tsunami and a tidal wave are two different and unrelated phenomena.
      • A tsunami is an ocean wave triggered by large earthquakes that occur near or under the ocean, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides or onshore landslides in which large volumes of debris fall into the water.

    (Image Courtesy: Britannica)

    Harit Dhara

    Recently, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed Harit Dhara.

    • It is an anti-methanogenic feed supplement.
    • Significance
      • When given to bovines and sheep, it not only cuts down their methane emissions by 17-20 per cent, but also results in higher milk production and body weight gain. 
      • It acts by decreasing the population of protozoa microbes in the rumen, responsible for hydrogen production and available to the archaea for reduction of CO2 to methane. 
      • It is a win-win for both the environment and livestock farmers.
      • At Rs. 30/litre milk price, the benefit-cost ratio for the dairy farmer works out to 3:1.
    • Methane
    • It is produced by animals having rumen, the first of their four stomachs.
    • The rumen produces methane which is expelled through burping.

    Arctic’s ‘Last Ice Area’

    Recently, a part of the Arctic’s ice called “Last Ice Area”, located north of Greenland, has melted before expected.

    • The climate projections forecast the total disappearance of summer ice in the Arctic by the year 2040.
    • The only place that would be able to withstand a warming climate would be this area of ice called the “Last Ice Area”.
    • Significance
      • It was thought to be able to help ice-dependent species as ice in the surrounding areas melted away. 
      • The area is used by polar bears to hunt for seals who use ice to build dens for their offspring. 
      • Walruses too, use the surface of the ice for foraging.
    • Concerns
      • Scientists had believed this area was strong enough to withstand global warming.
      • However, now the area where the Last Ice Area is located, experienced a record low concentration of sea ice.
      • The ice in this area has been thinning gradually over the years much like other parts of the Arctic Ocean.