Ramsar recognition for 10 more Indian wetlands
Six wetlands from Tamil Nadu and one each from Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have been added to the list of Ramsar sites in the country, increasing the tally to 64. These are the Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, Vembannur Wetland Complex, Vellode Bird Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary, all in Tamil Nadu, Nanda Lake in Goa, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka, Sirpur Wetland in Madhya Pradesh, and Satkosia Gorge in Odisha. India’s Ramsar wetlands now comprie around 10 per cent of the total wetland area in the country. While no other South Asian country has as many sites, smaller nations like the United Kingdom and Mexico have 175 and 145 Ramsar sites each. Being designated a Ramsar site ensures that these wetlands are conserved and protected from encroachment in the name of development.
Untreated sewage continues to be discharged into River Ganga
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has called out the National Mission for Clean Ganga for its inability to take stringent measures against non-compliance. Even after decades of monitoring, nearly 50 per cent of untreated sewage and industrial effluents continue to discharge into the river or its tributaries/drains. The forum said a paradigm shift in execution and monitoring is necessary. It also suggested that execution by State authorities was too slow and lacked ownership. The NGT is seeking an action taken report from the National Ganga Council before October 14, which is the next date of hearing.
Researchers discover three rare ant species in the Western Ghats
A group of entomology researchers from Kerala have discovered three new species of ants from the forests of the Western Ghats. Led by Dr Kalesh Sadasivan and Manoj Kripakaran, the team of researchers from Travancore History Society’s (TNHS) Ant Research Group (TARG) believe that the three new species, which belong to the genera Proceratium are forms of the original species found in Gondwana. This is the first time ants of the Proceratium and Zasphinctus genera have been reported in India. The former was found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Idukki and the latter in Agasthyamalai’s Ponmudi Hills.
More national headlines:
- A new marine record from Rushikonda beach in Visakhapatnam | The Hindu
- ZSI scientists discover new eel species | ThePrint
- No new construction in tiger reserves’ core areas: NTCA | Hindustan Times
The Migratory Monarch butterfly is now endangered!
Renowned for the incredible annual journey it undertakes across the Americas, the Migratory Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) has sadly been declared Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A subspecies of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), they are threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. Their breeding grounds throughout the United States and Canada have shrunk by 22 to 72 per cent in the last decade. Climate change is a fast-growing threat, with severe weather significantly impacting populations.
US drafts speed law to protect endangered whales against vessel strikes
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the newly designed rules to prevent ships from colliding with North Atlantic Right whales. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the biggest threat to these endangered whales, with fewer than 340 individuals left in the wild today. The new rules would expand seasonal slow zones off the east coast and require more vessels to comply by expanding the size classes that must slow down.
More international headlines:
- Why you need to worry about the ‘wet-bulb temperature’ | The Guardian
- A mysterious Greenland shark showed up in Belize, thousands of miles from its Arctic home | CNN
Edit: The Ramsar wetlands story has been updated after 10 more wetlands were recognised as Ramsar sites.