Indian Express Explained 08th April 2020

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1)Explained: What is Uluru, Australia’s famous desert rock, and why can’t you climb it any more?

A last line of climbers scaled Uluru, Australia’s famous desert rock. From October 26, climbing the rock, considered sacred by the local Anangu people, had been banned.

While many welcomed the move as a recognition of the rights of Australia’s indigenous people and of the importance of their cultures and beliefs, others have protested, claiming Australia belongs to “all its people”, and the religious beliefs of a few should not interfere with an activity popular worldwide.

About Uluru :

Uluru is an ancient sandstone monolith in Central Australia, famous for its gorgeous auburn hue, which seems to change with changing seasons and time of day. It is one of Australia’s prime tourist attractions.

The rock has a circumference of 9.4 km, and its 1,140-foot summit — taller than Eiffel Tower — has been a popular climbing destination.

For the Anangu people, every crack, crevice, cave on Uluru bears witness to stories they consider sacred — some so sacred they can’t be shared with outsiders.

2)Explained: What is INS Baaz, and why is it important?

INS Baaz is located at Campbell Bay on the Great Nicobar island, the southernmost and largest island of the Nicobar islands, in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This island is also the location of the Indira Point and is less than 250 km by sea from Banda Aceh in Indonesia.

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are strategically important for India’s national security as they provide a critical capability to monitor sea areas in the region.

The INS Baaz helps to ensure maritime security in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, and substantially enhances the Indian Navy’s maritime surveillance capability, as per a Defence Ministry press release.

3)India Counting Snow Leopard Population :- Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar in oct. launched a national-level protocol called the Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) to estimate the population of snow leopards in the Indian ranges.

In India, the snow leopard, which is listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species, faces threat from illegal poaching and trade among other reasons.

Snow leopards are native to the alpine regions of Central Asia. It is because of their thick fur that they are able to survive harsh cold climates. Even so, during the winter months, they are likely to descend to lower elevations.

In India, snow leopards mainly inhabit the higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape at an altitude between 3,000-5,400 metres.

How will the project be carried out?

The main sources of threat for snow leopards in India are climate change, unregulated tourism, retribution killing, poaching, illegal trade, infrastructure development in the mountains, and excessive livestock grazing.

Under SPAI, a two-step process will be undertaken to estimate the snow leopard population.

The first step involves an occupation-based assessment of snow leopard distribution, which will involve identifying the area where the study will be conducted. These estimates will be made by conducting preliminary surveys and using interview or sign-based methods.

The second step involves population sampling for regional density estimation. To do this, a thorough review of already sampled areas will be carried out.

What is the global program whose meeting was held in Delhi?

The Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) launched PAWS (Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards) in 2018 to bring together snow leopard range countries in an effort to accurately estimate their population size and monitor them.

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