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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Himalayan Gold

Why in News?

In the Himalayas, the reliance of local communities on the trade and collection of Himalayan Gold, caterpillar fungus has become extremely popular in recent decades.

  • Caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis) is a fungal parasite of larvae (caterpillars) that belongs to the ghost moth.
  • It has been used in traditional Tibetan and Chinese medicine as a tonic, as a therapeutic medicine for lung, liver and kidney problems.
  • In the recent times, it has widely traded as an aphrodisiac (stimulating sexual desire) and a powerful tonic, often called the ‘Himalayan Viagra’.
  • It is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, including the adjoining high Himalaya (3,200-4,500 metres above sea level).
  • It is locally known as Kira Jari (in India), Yartsagunbu (in Tibet) and Yarsagumba (in Nepal).
  • It has been found in alphine meadows of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchendzonga Biosphere Reserve and Dehan-Debang Biosphere Reserve.
  • The harvesting of fungus starts at the beginning of May and lasts till the end of June.
  • It depends on factors such as weather, snow cover on the pasture and elevation of collection sites.
  • TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network reported that the illegal trading of it is also a significant issue.

FACTS FOR PRELIMS

Annual Flamingo festival:

  • The annual flamingo festival will be conducted in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, in first week of January 2020.
  • More than 40,000 flamingos can be seen in action at the Pulicat lake during the season.
  • Other Bird species which can be spotted during the festival are Black-tailed godwit, Kentish plover, painted storks, large and little egrets, grey pelicans, grey herons, and water birds like northern pintails, black-winged stilts, northern shovellers, common teal, seagulls, terns, sandpipers, and common coots.
  • The lake supports a rich biodiversity and high biomass of fishes, prawns, crustaceans, coelenterates and planktons.

Aarey Mahotsav:

It is celebrated in Mumbai especially in Andheri and Goregaon.

About the Aarey campaign :

  • Aarey sprawls across 3,000 acres of land between Andheri and Goregaon, and the diversity of its forests has been well documented by Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award 2014 recipients Zeeshan Mirza and Rajesh Sanap.
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, however, seems to be ignorant of the invaluable ecological services that Aarey renders and is considering two projects that involve large-scale felling of trees in approximately one third of the Colony.

 

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