Facts in News


    Facts in News

    Snow Leopard

    • Scientific Name: Panthera uncia.
    • Habitat: Cold High Mountains.
      • These are found in 12 countries including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia & Mongolia.
    • Diet: Carnivore & hunt blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas, hares, etc.
    • Features
      • One of the world’s most elusive cats & are perfectly equipped to thrive in extreme, high-elevation habitats.
      • Insulated with thick white-gray coats spotted with large black rosettes & wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Tail helps in balancing and also covers the body while sleeping.
      • Shy & rarely seen in the wild.
    • Threats
      • Increased conflict due to expansion of human settlement & livestock grazing.
      • Poaching for trade in body parts and fur.
      • Climate change & shrinkage in habitat.
    • Conservation
      • Establishment of protected areas like sanctuaries & corridors.
      • Strengthen enforcement against poaching.
      • Building awareness.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
      • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.

    (Image Courtesy: WWFIndia)

    Cotton Pygmy Goose

    • Scientific Name: Nettapus coromandelianus.
    • Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with extensive floating vegetation especially water lilies.
      • They are distributed in South East Asia & parts of eastern Australia.
    • Features
      • Tiny duck belonging to the anatidae family which is constituted by ducks, geese and swans.
      • Male has a bright white head and neck with a dark crown and eyes.
      • Female is plainer, with a strong dark eye-line that does not continue back to the nape.
      • In India, they breed between June and August, seeking tree hollows to build the nests.
    • Concerns
      • Decreasing population due to habitat loss.
      • Climate change and natural disasters (hurricanes, global warming, tsunamis, etc).
      • Disease & anthropogenic threats.
    • Conservation
      • Geographically spaced populations.
      • Protecting wetlands from storms & sea level change.
      • Post-disaster contingency plans for population restoration.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Least Concern.
      • State of India’s Birds 2020 Report: Concerning List.

    (Image Courtesy: TH)

    Unicorn Black Hole

    • It is possibly the smallest-known black hole in the Milky Way galaxy and the closest to the solar system.
      • The black hole is located about 1,500 light years (the distance light travels in a year, 9.5 trillion km) from Earth.
    • It is roughly three times the mass of the sun.
    • A luminous star called a red giant orbits with the black hole in a so-called binary star system named V723 Mon.
    • Black holes are electromagnetically dark so they are difficult to find. However, tidal distortion on the companion star of Unicorn indicated its presence.
      • Its strong gravity alters the shape of the companion star in a phenomenon known as tidal distortion, making it elongated rather than spherical and causes its light to change as it moves along its orbital path.

    (Image Courtesy: TH)

    Oxygen Concentrators

    • An oxygen concentrator or generator is a device recommended by doctors to fulfill the shortage of oxygen and it functions with the help of atmospheric air and electricity
      • The oxygen concentrator takes in this air, filters it through a sieve, releases the nitrogen back into the air, and works on the remaining oxygen.
    • Oxygen concentrators are the easiest alternatives to cylinders but can only supply 5-10 litres of oxygen per minute (critical patients may need 40-50 litres per minute) and are best suited for moderately ill patients.
    • An oxygen concentrator can only be used under medical supervision and prescription and it should not be considered as a treatment for COVID-19.  

            Image Courtesy: Zee news 


    • India and France commenced their annual “Varuna” joint naval exercise with large-scale drills in the western Arabian Sea.
      • This is the 19th edition of the exercise.
      • India and France have been holding these exercises since 1993.
    • The joint exercise will comprise various drills across the spectrum of maritime operations, “with the goal of fostering interoperability and mutual learning between the two navies.
    • The exercise plays a key role in the two countries’ joint vision for a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific” and a rules-based international order.

    Other Military Exercises of India 

    • Malabar Exercise: Navies of India, USA, and Japan.
    • JIMEX: India-Japan
    • Ex-Desert Knight 21 exercise– It is a bilateral air exercise to be held between Indian Air Force and the French air and Space Force.
    • Indra Dhanush-It is a joint air force exercise between the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom
    • Exercise Pitch Black- India and Australia.
      • The main aim of the exercise is to practice Defensive Counter Air combat and Offensive Counter Air Combat
    • AUSINDEX is a bilateral naval exercise between the Indian Navy and the Australian Navy.
      • Both countries hold bilateral army exercises named  AUSTRAHIND.
    • Dharma Guardian-The joint military exercise named “Dharma Guardian” between India and Japan.
    • Aviaindra –India and Russia joint air exercise.
    • Nomadic Elephant-India and  Mongolia joint exercise.

    Deep Time Project

    • Scientists at the Human Adaption Institute leading the 1.2 million-euro (US$1.5 million) “Deep Time” Project.
    • Under the Project, Eight men and seven women lived for 40 days in the dark, damp depths of the Lombrives cave in the Pyrenees southwestern France. 
    • There was no sunlight inside, the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius (50 F) and the relative humidity stood at 100 percent
    • The cave dwellers had no contact with the outside world, no updates on the pandemic nor any communications with friends or family.
    • The project aimed to test how people respond to losing their sense of time and space.
    • It will help scientists to better understand how people adapt to drastic changes in living conditions and environments.