UPSC Prelims News of 22 October 2022
Great Indian Bustard
Context: Three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) have been spotted in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert.
More on the News:
- There is a speculation that these birds might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park (DNP).
- GIBs are highly at risk in Pakistan because of lack of protection and rampant hunting.
About Great Indian Bustards:
- GIB is one of the largest flying birds in the world. It is also the state bird of Rajasthan.
- Habitat of GIB:
- GIBs were found all over Indian subcontinent. Now the habitat has shrunken to 10 percent of the original one.
- GIBs are terrestrial birds and are majorly found in grasslands and dryland ecosystem.
- About 95% of its population is present in Rajasthan. Other states include Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- The biggest threat is the high voltage electricity lines. Their vision is weak and they cannot escape the lines in time during flight, leading to their death.
- The change in land cultivation pattern like switching over to cotton and oil seeds from pulses have led to fall in GIB numbers.
- Conservation Status:
- They are classified as critically endangered species under IUCN Red list.
- They are protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India.
- It is present in the Appendix I of CITES.
- Population recovery
- The government had launched GIB recovery programme in 2015 under which eggs of GIBs are hatched in controlled environment.
Context: Climate change could increase the risk of “viral spillover” in some regions of the world, causing new pandemics.
What is Viral Spillover?
- It is a process through which viruses may infect a new species from a reservoir host species (in which it usually resides).
- Researchers collected sediment and soil samples from Lake Hazen in Canada – the world’s largest High Arctic lake by volume, and the region’s largest freshwater ecosystem.
- Based on DNA and RNA sequencing, they found that the chances of a virus moving to a new host increases with runoff from glacier melt.
- As melting of glaciers increases due to temperature rise, there is a greater possibility for previously ice-trapped viruses and bacteria to find new hosts.
Role Of Reservoir Species Range:
- As long as viruses and their ‘bridge vectors’ are not simultaneously located in the same environment, the likelihood of dramatic events probably remains low.
- However, climate change could shift the range of certain reservoir species northwards, and the High Arctic zone could become fertile ground for emerging pandemics.
Agni Prime Missile
Context: The Agni Prime new generation ballistic missile was successfully test fired off the coast of Odisha.
- It is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of ballistic missiles.
- It is a nuclear capable and a surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
- It is the smallest and lightest among the entire Agni series.
- It is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant missile (Canisterisation lessens the time required for launch & improves storage and mobility).
- Dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
- It has a range of up to 2000 km.
- It will strengthen India’s credible deterrence capabilities, improved manoeuvring and accuracy, unlike earlier Agni missiles.
Agni Class of Missiles:
|Agni I||Range of 700-800 km.|
|Agni II||Range more than 2000 km.|
|Agni III||Range of more than 2,500 Km|
|Agni IV||Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher.|
|Agni-V||The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.|
|Ballistic Missiles||Cruise Missiles|