Current Affairs March 2017 - Environment


News 1 - World’s oldest fossils discovered in Quebec, Canada


Geologists have found the world’s oldest fossils in the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB) on the coast of Hudson Bay in the northern reaches of Canada's Quebec province. They have discovered chunks of quartz that contain tiny tubes and filaments left behind by microorganisms. The fossils date back between 3.77 and 4.3 billion years ago.

The fossils are thought to be the remains of bacteria that lived on iron and dwelt around hydrothermal vent systems i.e. mineral rich hot springs on the seafloor.

News 2 - Conservation drones to be used to monitor Tigers


The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun will us drones over select tiger reserves of the country for the monitoring of tiger population in the reserves.

The drones would collect and transmit visual data on animal movements, poaching activities and instances of forest fire from inaccessible forest terrains on a real-time basis. Each reserve would get five vehicles and each vehicle would cost around Rs.4,00,000.

News 3 - Scientists discover a new Canyon System near Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh

Canyon System

A team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) have discovered three new canyons close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. These three canyons together form a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal.

Canyon systems are generally formed by flow of river water into the sea. The new canyon system was found to be deeper than Grand Canyon of US and is probably formed by the river Kandivalasa. The canyons were names as Andhra Canyon, Mahadevan Canyon and Krishna Canyon.

News 4 - Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand come together for elephant census

elephant census

The States of Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have decided to carry out a common program for elephant census between May 9 and 12. It is a first of its kind program to be conducted by these states together.

The States will conduct the census based on an identical set of rules — using the direct and indirect counting methods. As per the 2015 census, Odisha has 1,954 elephants while Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal had approximately 700, 275 and 130 elephants, respectively.

News 5 - Mass Coral bleached in Great Barrier Reef for the second consecutive year

Mass Coral

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing mass coral bleaching for a second consecutive year.

Corals have a symbiotic relationship with tiny marine algae called 'zooxanthellae' that live inside and nourish them. When sea surface temperatures rise, corals expel the colourful algae. The loss of the algae causes them to bleach and turn white. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 mollusc species.

News 6 - World’s first fluorescent frog is discovered in Argentina

fluorescent frog

Scientists at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires have discovered the world’s first fluorescent frog near Santa Fe in Argentina. In normal light the frog appears to have a dull, mottled brown-green skin with red dots, but under UV light it glows a bright fluorescent green.

The frog is a dull green/brown with red spots in normal light. Three molecules hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 were responsible for green fluorescence.

News 7 - Uttarakhand HC accords human status to Ganga, Yamuna

Uttarakhand HC

The Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of "living human entities" to the Ganga and Yamuna, two of India's most sacred rivers.

The decision was accorded by a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of Nainital High Court. The court ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the "legal parents" of the holy rivers and work as the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries.

News 8 - Environment Ministry Official to chair the Animal Welfare Board of India

Animal Welfare

The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) will now be permanently chaired by a senior official from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF). AWBI is a statutory advisory body under the MoEF.

The government has appointed Sharad Singh Negi, Special Secretary and Director-General (Forests), MoEF as the new Chairperson with effect from March 1. The new board formed consists of 18 members. AWBI had always been chaired by somebody outside government, such as veterinarians, animal welfare activists or retired judges.

News 9 - World's largest Capstone discovered by archaeologists in Telangana


The archaeology department of Telangana has discovered the world's largest Capstone after excavating an ancient human burial site in Narmeta village in Nangunuru mandal of Siddipet district in Telanagana.

The Capstone of the menhir burial reportedly weighs about 40 tonnes. The department is all set to undertake DNA testing of various artefacts that have been discovered at this site. It will help in tracing the lineage of prehistoric humans, their food habits, lifestyle and how their population later became extinct.

News 10. Six Copper Axes dating back to the 2nd Millennium BC discovered in Saharanpur District of UP

Six Copper Axes

Six copper axes dating back to the second millennium B C were discovered in a brick field at Sakatpur Must village in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

The chance discovery made last month also yielded saffron coloured pottery of the same period. These discoveries indicate the scientific knowhow in that era.

This region has thoroughly been explored and several sites have been discovered bearing evidence of a 4000-year-old civilization that flourished there.

News 11. Kanha Tiger Reserve became the first Tiger Reserve in India to get an official mascot

Kanha Tiger

The Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh became the first tiger reserve in India to get an official mascot named "Bhoorsingh – The Barasingha". It is aimed to create a better connect with the visitors, especially the younger generation.

Barasingha, or swamp deer, is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. The Kanha tiger reserve, spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts, is the only place in the world where the species exists. The mascot has been designed by cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty, who runs a popular website