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Who is to blame for growing man-animal conflict in Kashmir?

Srinagar city has an entire range of Zabarwan hills those have been declared as protected areas for wildlife species.

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Zabarwan hills

As humankind continues to breach nature’s borders to encroach into the habitat of wildlife species, more and more incidents of man-animal conflict are occurring across the Kashmir Valley.

Just two days back, a leopard and a mother bear with cubs were rescued in time by the officials of the wildlife protection department from a heavily populated area of south Kashmir.

“After rescue, these animals were set free in the forest area so that they return to their natural territory”, said an official of the wildlife protection department.

Ironically, instead of helping the rescue effort, dozens of locals were seen clicking mobile phone pictures of these wild animals as they remained dazed after being surrounded by so many people.

Environmentalists say the problem is much bigger and of greater consequence than it appears to the common man.

“Fast growing human population has pushed the boundaries of the wild animals far deeper into the forests and other habitats of these species.

“Look at any forest area of the Valley and you will find that humans have done serious encroachments there. Felling forests for timber and fuel, or claiming forest land for cultivation is a common phenomenon in J&K.

“This forces the wildlife species to move down into populated areas for food and sometimes in sheer bewilderment and fear”, said a local environmentalist.

Another important reason for man-animal conflict is the increasing numbers of wildlife species because poaching and unauthorised killing of animals for fur etc has almost stopped due to the presence of the security forces in forest areas.

“Poachers hardly dare to venture into the forests. Security forces deployed on counter insurgency duties dominate forest areas to check infiltration of militants. This has discouraged poaching and hunting in these forests”, said a police officer.

Srinagar city has an entire range of Zabarwan hills those have been declared as protected areas for wildlife species.

Areas overlooking the Raj Bhawan, hotel Lalit, Hari Niwas guest house and even the entire high security Gupkar Road and the Boulevard are protected areas.

There are leopards, bears, jackals, partridges and dozens of other wildlife species in these areas.

In addition to this, Dachigam national park is situated barely 14 Kilometres from city centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

Dachigam is home to ‘Hangul’, a sub-species of red deer found only in Kashmir and nowhere else in the World.

As construction of houses etc continues in areas surrounding the Dachigam national park, this has caused stress on various species living inside the park.

A government sheep farm which existed inside the park for decades was re-located two years back to avoid competition between sheep and other grazers among the wildlife species.

“There are pastures those overlap into the Dachigam park and flocks of sheep, goats and cattle are taken up into these pastures by nomadic goatherds during the summer months.

“This is another grey area that needs immediate attention to ensure that the population of Hangul and other species remains unaffected”, said Bashir Ahmad, a veterinarian who headed the sheep farm inside the national park for three years in the past.

Thousands of migratory birds come each year to spend the winter months in bird reserves and other lakes and water bodies of the Valley.

Vast areas of these bird reserves like the Hokarsar, Mirgund, Hygam and Shallabugh have been encroached as houses and other structures including shops and godowns have come up in these areas.

This has shrunk the areas of these bird reserves forcing the migratory birds to inhabit unprotected water bodies where poachers kill these birds.

In a nutshell, the man-animal conflict in Kashmir is the handiwork of human beings whose greed for land and space has obliterated the fine ecological borderline because of which the two had peacefully coexisted for centuries.

Analysis

China develops nanomaterial to combat coronavirus: Report

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

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corona tests laboratory

Beijing, March 29 : A team of Chinese scientists has reportedly developed a novel way to combat the new coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease which has killed over 32,000 people globally.

According to Global Times, the new weapon is not a drug or a compound but some nanomaterial.

“Chinese scientists have developed a new weapon to combat the #coronavirus,” the news portal tweeted on Sunday.

“They say they have found a nanomaterial that can absorb and deactivate the virus with 96.5-99.9 per cent efficiency,” it added.

Nanomaterials are used in a variety of manufacturing processes, products and healthcare including paints, filters, insulation and lubricant additives.

In healthcare, Nanozymes are nanomaterials with enzyme-like characteristics.

According to the US NIH, scientists have not unanimously settled on a precise definition of nanomaterials, but agree that they are partially characterized by their tiny size, measured in nanometers.

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

However, while engineered nanomaterials provide great benefits, “we know very little about the potential effects on human health and the environment. Even well-known materials, such as silver for example, may pose a hazard when engineered to nano size,” according to NIH.

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Analysis

Covid-19 cases cross 700,000 mark; toll over 33,500

The COVID-19 is affecting 132 countries and territories around the world.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

New Delhi, March 30 : The number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed the 700,000 mark near midnight on Monday, with the US comprising over a seventh of them, while the death toll crossed the 33,500 mark, with Italy (10,779) and Spain (6,606) accounting for over half of them, as the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Of the 704,095 total cases, the US led with 132,637 and was followed by Italy with 97, 689 cases, China with 82,122, Spain with 78,799, Germany with 60,659 and Iran with
38,309.

As far the death toll was concerned, China’s Hubei was third with 3,182 deaths, followed by Iran with 2,640, France with 2,606, and the UK with 1,228. US had also reported over 2,000 deaths across the country, the maximum of them in New York City (678).

Meanwhile, 148,824 Covid-19 patients have recovered, with over half (75,582) of them from China, followed by 14,709 in Spain, 13,030 in Italy, 12,391 in Iran and 9,211 in Germany.

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Global pandemic warning was given last year: WHO ex-Chief

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World Health Organisation

London, March 29: World Health Organisation’s (WHO) former Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland has expressed concern over the global lack of “preparedness” for a worldwide pandemic despite a warning being made in September last year, reports said on Sunday.

“….Disease thrives in disorder and has taken advantage–outbreaks have been on the rise for the past several decades and the spectre of a global health emergency looms large. If it is true to say ‘what’s past is prologue”, then there is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5 per cent of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity. The world is not prepared….,” Brundtland, the first-ever woman Norwegian Prime Minister, said in the foreword of the September 2019 report of the WHO and World Bank’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board.

“For its first report, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) reviewed recommendations from previous high-level panels and commissions following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak, along with its own commissioned reports and other data. The result is a snapshot of where the world stands in its ability to prevent and contain a global health threat. Many of the recommendations reviewed were poorly implemented, or not implemented at all, and serious gaps persist. For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides. It is well past time to act…,” it said.

Brundtland is co-chair of the GPMB along with Alhadj Es Sy, the Co-Chair Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Speaking to BBC’s Radio 4, she said: “What we have now is a warned catastrophe.

“We saw big alarming gaps in the preparedness of the world and found compelling evidence of a very real threat.”

“It’s not too late but we have to deal with the fact we are already in this now, which means putting emphasis on mobilising funding and (placing) attention on getting the equipment that is needed,” she added.

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