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Penguin of the size of full grown man baffles experts —

Penguin of the size of man baffles experts (The Sun)

Penguin of the size of man baffles experts (The Sun)

An enormously huge penguin that lived up to 60 million years ago has amazed scientists. 5ft 8ins tall and weighing 16 stone (101kg), it was the same height as an average human male – and much heavier than his 13st 3lb.

Fossils of this giant penguin were discovered recently at Hampden Beach in Otago, New Zealand. According to the Lead author Dr Gerald Mayr, of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt it was almost twice as tall and more than triple the weight of the Emperor – the largest modern penguin which can grow to 3ft 3ins and tip the scales at 66lbs.

Its large size would have allowed it to swim further and dive deeper than today’s penguins, but it would still waddled about when it was on the land. Named Kumimanu biceae, it lived during the late Palaeocene. Its partial skeleton included a thigh-bone – or femur – measuring more than 6 inches in length.

From this the team could estimate its size – which puts it among the largest penguins found. Only two other species of giant penguins are known from around this time.

Gigantism – a phenomenon in which the size of an ancient species exceeded that of the largest living ones – is a known feature of penguin evolution. Giant penguins are well documented from between 50 and 20 million years ago – but older ones are rare.

Scientists speculate they might have become extinct following the emergence of larger predators like, whales, seals, dolphins and porpoises.

Dr Mayr said: “One of the notable features of penguin evolution is the occurrence of very large species in the early Cenozoic whose body size greatly exceeded that of the largest living penguins.”

The Cenozoic is from 66 million years ago – when the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid – to the present day.

Dr Mayr said: “Here we describe a new giant species from the late Paleocene of New Zealand that documents the very early evolution of large body size in penguins.

Kumimanu biceae is larger than all other fossil penguins that have substantial skeletal portions preserved.”

The study published in Nature Communications suggests giant penguins evolved independently and early in their existence – soon after the bird’s evolutionary transition from flight to diving.

Dr Mayr said: “That a penguin rivaling the largest previously known species existed in the Paleocene suggests gigantism in penguins arose shortly after these birds became flightless divers.”

The biggest ever discovered is known as Palaeeudyptes klekowskii – dubbed the ‘colossus penguin’.

It was up to 6.63ft (2.02m) in length and lived much later – 37 to 40 million years ago on Antarctica.

As well as the thigh-bone there were parts of three wing-bones, the shoulder-blade, the breast-bone and a leg-bone.

There was also part of the pelvis along with three vertebrae and other bone fragments.

It was unearthed from a rock formation 186 miles south west of the Waipara River in New Zealand.

The extinction of the dinosaurs and larger marine predators and dinosaurs could have been the ecological driver for the loss of flight capabilities in the earliest penguins.

But the rise of marine mammals appears to have wiped out giant penguins, he added. (The Sun)

Penguin population may drop by 60% by the end of the century —

Adelie Pinguin

Adelie Pinguin

The penguin population is expected to drop by a staggering 60% by the end of this century, a study from the University of Delaware has found. Climate change has “influenced the distribution patterns” of Adélie penguins across Antarctica over thousands of years.

The warming of glaciers had been beneficial to the penguins over thousands of years, with glaciers melting and allowing them to return to breeding grounds in more rocky areas. But climate change has now forced these warming periods to a “tipping point”, meaning the colony may decline by 60 per cent by 2099.

“It is only in recent decades that we know Adélie penguins population declines are associated with warming, which suggests many regions of Antarctica have warmed too much and that further warming is no longer positive for the species,” said the paper’s lead author Megan Cimino.

A colony of Adelie Penguins

A colony of Adelie Penguins

The penguin species has already experienced “serious population declines” in the Western Peninsula of Antarctica because of climate change.

The study used satellite data to predict the penguin population.

“Our study used massive amounts of data to run habitat suitability models. From other studies that used actual ground counts – people going and physically counting penguins – and from high resolution satellite imagery, we have global estimates of Adélie penguin breeding locations, meaning where they are present and where they are absent, throughout the entire Southern Ocean,” said Cimino.

“We also have estimates of population size and how their populations have changed over last few decades.”

When this data was combined with satellite information and future climate projections on sea surface temperature and sea ice, the team was able to predict future population changes.

“Studies like this are important because they focus our attention on areas where a species is most vulnerable to change,” said Cimino. “The results can be used for management; they can have implications for other species that live in the area and for other ecosystem processes.” (Wired)

Owls hold secret to ageless ears —

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Previously, starlings have been found to have this ability, suggesting birds are protected from age-related hearing loss. Understanding more about the “ageless ears” of barn owls could help develop new treatments for human hearing problems.

Birds are able to naturally repair damage to the inner ear. Georg Klump of the University of Oldenburg, Germany, a researcher on the study, said owls keep their hearing into very old age.

“Birds can repair their ears like (humans) can repair a wound,” he said. “Humans cannot regrow the sensory cells of the ears but birds can do this.”

It appears that humans lost these regenerative abilities at some point in evolution. Like all mammals, people commonly suffer from hearing loss in old age. By the age of 65, humans can expect to lose more than 30 dB in sensitivity at high frequencies.

Commenting on the study, Dr Stefan Heller of Stanford University School of Medicine, said work was underway to investigate differences between birds and mammals.

“To truly utilize this knowledge, we need to conduct comparative studies of birds and mammals that aim to find the differences in regenerative capacity, a topic that is actively pursued by a number of laboratories worldwide,” he said.

The research, published in the journal, Royal Society Proceedings B, was carried out on seven captive barn owls.

The birds were trained to fly to a perch to receive a food reward in response to sounds. Even the oldest owl, which reached the ripe old age of 23, showed no signs of age-related hearing loss. Barn owls typically only live to the age of three or four in the wild. The birds rely on their hearing to hunt prey at night. (BBC News)

In India birds, wild animals hit two planes every day —

Damage caused by birds -- IAF_UH-60_after_birds_strike_outside

At least two planes are struck every day in India by airborne birds or animals on runways, accidents that pose a serious risk to human lives and the aviation industry.

According to latest data obtained through the RTI law from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), more than 4,000 aircraft suffered wildlife strikes — hit by birds or animals — in about 80 airports over the past five years.

Such collisions increased substantially from 607 in 2012 to 839 in 2016.

The airports in New Delhi and Mumbai, the busiest in the country, report the maximum number of bird hits. Data show the Capital registered 135 cases in 2016, followed by Mumbai’s 72.

The growing incidence of bird strikes is the result of abundant availability of food in and around airports, which are buffeted by open grassland, ponds and human habitations that generate tonnes of leftover foodstuff.

“Thiruvananthapuram airport reported 28 cases of bird hits in six months because there are meat shops close to the airport. Considering the low plane traffic, the number is quite significant,” an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said.

The accidents spike during the rainy months from July to October.

“Small insects, food particles, water bodies that attract birds are found in abundance during the rainy season leading to increase in cases in monsoon,” said an official of the DGCA, the civil aviation regulator.

“In 2% cases, wild animals such as Nilgai, deer, wild boar and jackal sneak into airports, occupy the runaways and collide with planes.”

Breaches in the perimeter wall of airports in Kolkata, Amritsar, Varanasi and Jabalpur have attracted wild animals to runways. “This year we had three cases in Kolkata and two each in Amritsar and Varanasi,” the DGCA official said.

The accidents cause major and sometimes permanent damage to the aircraft, unnerve the crew and cost airlines substantial flying hours in repairs. Domestic airlines lost more than Rs 25 crore in 2014 to bird hits.

The captain of an Airbus A320 with a private airline switched off the good engine instead of the damaged one that sucked in a bird during take-off in New Delhi this January.

He corrected the mistake immediately, but his nervous response posed a midair scare for more than 180 passengers on board.

“A few years ago, an eagle hit a plane’s windscreen and broke it, injuring a pilot’s eye,” an AAI official said.

Strategies to reduce bird strikes such as habitat modification, auditory and visual deterrents, avian radar system and changes in flight time and route have been either proposed or placed.

But these will make a little dent to the problem in an age when aircraft movements have increased around 20% in five years in the country. There were 1.15 million take-offs and landings in India in 2016-17.

Residents of areas close to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi said more birds are noticed these days feeding on garbage dumped in the open.

 “The Delhi Development Authority has put up a notice board cautioning residents not to throw food waste in the open as it might attract birds and interfere with aircraft movement. But there is gross negligence by the civic authorities. They let garbage rot in the open,” said AS Chhatwal, resident of Dwarka Sector 8 that shares the boundary with the airport.

The DGCA issued this August a nine-page aerodrome advisory circular, suggesting programmes tailored to suite conditions at the site.

“This should include both habitat management and active wildlife control, and might include lethal methods subject to local wildlife regulations,” it says.

New Delhi’s airport operator, DIAL, takes “proactive measures” to mitigate hazards of bird strike, according to its spokesperson.  (Hindustan Times)

10,000 birds trapped in Twin Towers memorial light —

Tribute in Light in 2010

Tribute in Light in 2010

Scientists have long known that artificial light can attract and disorient birds at night, causing collisions and wreaking mischief with their migratory path. Now, the annual September 11 “Tribute in Light Memorial” in Manhattan has provided a unique opportunity to study and quantify the effect.  

According to ‘The Telegraph’ an estimated 90,000 birds die each year after becoming disorientated by lights and crashing into skyscrapers in New York as they migrate south for the winter.

The multiyear study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that birds gathered in greater densities, flew repeatedly in circles and vocalized loudly when the memorial’s powerful beams were illuminated.

However, when the lights were turned off for brief periods, the birds were quick to resume their normal flight paths and behaviors. Although the researchers were not calling for any changes to the annual event, their findings suggest a simple fix for ongoing light pollution in other places.

“Wherever we can turn lights off at night, we should be doing it,” said Andrew Farnsworth, an ornithologist with Cornell University and an author of the study, which claims to be the first to quantify bird responses to urban nighttime light.

Researchers from Cornell and the New York City Audubon Society have been monitoring the memorial, which consists of two pillars of 44 spotlights aimed directly upward to simulate the fallen Twin Towers, since it was first presented in 2002. In 2008, the team began using radar and acoustic sensors to track how many birds the light was attracting and how it affected their behavior.

In 2010, the beams attracted so many birds that the researchers convinced the memorial’s operators to turn off the lights for 20 minute intervals, which presented “a unique opportunity” to study “behavior in birds when these incredibly powerful lights were on versus when they were off,” said Dr. Farnsworth. The lights were briefly extinguished again in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Compiling data from seven nonconsecutive years, the researchers found that bird density near the instillation was 20 times greater than surrounding areas, causing sometimes fatal collisions with structures and other birds. Alterations to the birds’ migratory paths also put them at risk of death and starvation from arriving late to their destinations.

All such behaviors ceased within minutes of the lights being turned off. The installation affected more than 1.1 million birds cumulatively in those seven years, the researchers said.

Though the study makes no specific recommendations about the 9/11 Memorial, it does recommend that cities consider “selective removal of light during nights with substantial bird migration.” Sports stadiums, car dealerships, mountaintop monuments and large buildings are among the worst offenders when it comes to nighttime light, said Dr. Farnsworth.

According to ‘The Telegraph’ two beams emanating from Manhattan, known as the Tribute of Light, had to be turned off five times to allow the migrating birds to continue on their journey last week.

The birds were on their way from Canada to the warmer climate of the Caribbean and South America. They do not always fly over New York and the last time their migratory path coincided with September 11 was in 2004.

The Tribute of Light is turned on by the Municipal Art Society every year on the anniversary of the attacks.

Monitors from New York City Audubon, a conservation organisation, observed this year’s tribute and alerted organisers to the confused birds.

An estimated 90,000 birds die each year after becoming disorientated by lights and crashing into skyscrapers in New York as they migrate south for the winter.

Owners of tower blocks are increasingly switching off or dimming their lights to reduce the risks to birds. (World PRO News & The Telegraph)

Crows are highly intelligent birds —

Common crow and Common raven feeding (pix SShukla) (13 Sept. 2010) - CopyCrows are called “feathered primates” by behavioral biologists because they not only use tools, but they also make them according to the requirement; they can remember large numbers of feeding sites and plan their social behavior according to what other members of their group do. According to an article by biologist Carl Bergstrom, ravens have shown evidence that they may be the first non-primate that plans for future events.

This high level of intelligence might seem surprising because birds’ brains are constructed in a fundamentally different way from those of mammals, including primates – which are usually used to investigate these behaviors.

The Tübingen researchers are the first to investigate the brain physiology of crows’ intelligent behavior, for which they trained crows to carry out memory tests on a computer. They were shown an image and had to remember it. Shortly afterwards, they had to select one of two test images on a touchscreen with their beaks based on a switching behavioral rules. One of the test images was identical to the first image, the other different. Sometimes the rule of the game was to select the same image, and sometimes it was to select the different one. The crows were able to carry out both tasks and to switch between them as appropriate. That demonstrates a high level of concentration and mental flexibility which few animal species can manage – and which is an effort even for humans.

The crows were quickly able to carry out these tasks even when given new sets of images. The researchers observed neuronal activity in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a brain region associated with the highest levels of cognition in birds. One group of nerve cells responded exclusively when the crows had to choose the same image – while another group of cells always responded when they were operating on the “different image” rule. By observing this cell activity, the researchers were often able to predict which rule the crow was following even before it made its choice.

The study published in Nature Communications provides valuable insights into the parallel evolution of intelligent behavior. Crows and primates have different brains, but the cells regulating decision-making are very similar. They represent a general principle which has re-emerged throughout the history of evolution. “Just as we can draw valid conclusions on aerodynamics from a comparison of the very differently constructed wings of birds and bats, here we are able to draw conclusions about how the brain works by investigating the functional similarities and differences of the relevant brain areas in avian and mammalian brains,” says Professor Andreas Nieder.

Boeing Copies Flying Geese to Save Fuel —

Airlines Looking to save fuel could start flying like Canadian Geese (Sources - Boeing, NASA, DARPA)

Airlines Looking to save fuel could start flying like Canadian Geese (Sources – Boeing, NASA, DARPA)

Boeing Co. and NASA have found an inexpensive way to cut airline fuel bills by borrowing a trick from the world’s greatest long-distance aviators: migratory birds.

By lining up cruising aircraft in a V-shaped formation favored by Canada geese, carriers would be able to produce a leap in efficiency without investing in structural makeovers or futuristic technology. The idea is to link the flying convoys safely using navigation and collision-avoidance tools that already are widely installed in cockpits.

“Think of a car drafting a truck, or one bike rider drafting another,” said Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president for product development. “It essentially allows you, if you are flying in the right spot, to reduce your fuel burn. But you’ve got to be there for a long time.”

Wake surfing, as the avian technique is known, involves harvesting energy from a lead plane – a potential way to cut fuel bills, which typically rank as the biggest or second-biggest expense for airlines. A researcher at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) points to studies showing fuel savings of 10 percent to 15 percent, on a par with pricier options such as upgrading engines or installing winglets.

The concept is one of dozens under study at Boeing. The company is also looking at long, glider-like wings beneath a plane to save fuel, as well as how to manage the boom from supersonic flights. The Chicago-based plane maker is also studying artificial intelligence that would allow a single pilot to be at the controls during a long cruise, a potential step toward fully autonomous flights.

Wake surfing – also known as vortex surfing or, to get super technical, automated cooperative trajectories – takes advantage of the cone-shaped columns of air that swirl for miles behind an airplane’s wingtips. Through careful positioning, trailing aircraft can gain extra lift from the upward portion of that circular flow, saving fuel without giving passengers a bone-rattling ride.

Scheduling Hurdle

There’s a catch, though, and it isn’t just that lower oil prices have provided airlines some relief on fuel bills in recent years, or that current regulatory requirements mandate minimum spacing between planes.

Before jets can glide on vortices at 30,000 feet (9,100 meters), carriers would need to determine how to schedule planes onto the same route with extreme precision. That’s a big ask for an industry already flummoxed by weather, employee hours, maintenance requirements and air-traffic congestion.

“Airlines can barely keep a schedule, anyway,” said aviation consultant Robert Mann, an aerospace engineer and former airline executive. “I would argue that they can’t.”

Flying in formation holds greater promise for services with fewer scheduling variables, like manned and unmanned military aircraft, or, eventually, flocks of Amazon drones dropping off packages, he said.

NASA Experiment

Cargo operators might be able to change scheduling or routing to get multiple airplanes to the same place at the same time, said Curt Hanson, a senior flight-controls researcher at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

A study that wrapped up this year may help debunk the view that airlines would need extensive cockpit upgrades to fly in tight formation. Hanson looked at linking wake-surfing Gulfstream business jets using equipment that has to be installed in U.S. aircraft by 2020. The tool – automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast or ADS-B – transmits a plane’s position and velocity twice a second, providing more accurate readings than radar.

NASA measured considerable fuel savings that could be gained without making passengers or air crews uncomfortable, said Hanson, who is based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

“We were able to fly in a stable, commanded location within the wake for long periods of time,” he said. The agency is still analyzing data and won’t publish the findings for months.

Fuel Savings

Since the study isn’t final, Hanson wouldn’t discuss the magnitude of fuel savings. But he pointed to a wake-surfing demonstration of Boeing C-17 military transport planes earlier this decade that lowered fuel use about 10 percent. And a study pairing F-18 fighters around the turn of the millennium showed that formation flying reduced drag as much as 15 percent.

“We have the technology today,” Hanson said.

And the scheduling conundrum?

If airlines get serious about the technique, he said, “Someone will step in to fill that void and make that product.”

Earth is on brink of sixth mass extinction, human activity is to blame —

Earth is now on the brink of its sixth mass extinction and human activity is to blame, experts have warned. They say over 360 species of large mammals in Africa, Asia and South America—most biodiverse regions of the world—at highest risk. A quarter of mammal species and 13% of birds are highly threatened. In the opinion of experts, drastic change to human diets and farming could reduce the risk.

In a series of studies published in the last week of May 2017, researchers around the world examined the current and future threats to biodiversity, and found that nearly a quarter of mammal species are at risk of extinction, along with 13 percent of birds.

And, scientists warn the effects will eventually come back around to bite humans as well, as we ultimately depend on plants and animals for survival.

The findings were published in a special biodiversity issue of the scientific journal Nature.

In one study, researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University assessed the impact of several human activities currently threatening species around the world, including habitat destruction, overhunting, and the introduction of non-native species.

These activities, they concluded, are pushing many species on the path to extinction.

‘Human activities are driving the sixth mass extinction in the history of life on Earth, despite the fact that diversity of life enhances many benefits people reap from nature, such as wood from forests, livestock forage from grasslands, and fish from oceans and streams,’ said lead author Forest Isbell, of University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences.

‘It would be wise to invest much more in conserving biodiversity.’

In the journal, experts warned that the ever-expanding human population and exploding demand for food, water and living space, will place animals at ‘unprecedented’ extinction risk in the next 50 years.

But all is not lost, and a drastic change to human diets and farming methods could provide ‘healthy diets’ for 10 billion people by 2060, while also preserving liveable habitats for most remaining species, it concluded.

‘With forethought and timely action, these goals can be achieved.’

Successive waves of species extinctions have followed in the wake of modern humans’ spread out of Africa to the rest of the world.

By 3,000 years ago, Earth had lost half of its terrestrial mammal mega-species — animals which weigh more than 44 kilogrammes (97 pounds) — and 15 percent of its birds.

The human population at seven billion is now 25 times larger than it was then, and projected to add another four billion mouths to feed by century’s end.

Already, a quarter of mammal species and 13 percent of birds are threatened with extinction, said the review authors.

‘Extinction rates for birds, mammals and amphibians are similar at present to those of the five global mass-extinction events of the past 500 million years that probably resulted from meteorite impacts, massive volcanism and other cataclysmic forces,’ they wrote.

One such event is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs.

Hunting, culling and poaching imperils up to half of threatened bird and mammal species, said the paper.

Designated protected areas now cover about 14 percent of Earth’s land surface, yet biodiversity continues to decline worldwide.

In parts of Africa, for example, lion populations have fallen to 10 percent of their potential largely due to human encroachment.

Between 1970 and 1998, bushmeat consumption in Ghana led to a near 80-percent population decline in 41 mammal species.

Threats to animal survival increase in step with a rise in human population and disposable income.

Globally, a further 710 million hectares would need to be cleared to meet the projected demand for food by 2060. 

Of the total, 430 million hectares — almost half the size of the United States — would be in sub-Saharan Africa.

Safeguarding Earth’s precious creatures amid such pressures will require the expansion and better management of conservation areas, the authors argued.

‘The ultimate drivers of hunting and poaching must be addressed, for example, by providing people with alternative livelihoods or sources of protein.’

Also, agricultural yields — the crop produced per available hectare of land — must be increased through measures that include protecting soil fertility, and using more pest- and drought-resistant seeds.

Modifying diets can play a crucial role, said the review.

The more money a society has, the more it tends to splurge on meat and other animal products, sugar and starch — all commodities that require a lot of land and water to grow.

The authors advise eating more fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Why flamingos stand on one leg decoded —

Greater flamingo   (pix SShukla)

Greater flamingo (pix SShukla)

Flamingos are well-known for standing on one leg – but, until now, no-one has been entirely sure why they do it.

One theory was that they did it to help regulate their temperature, as putting both down when stood in water would draw away more body heat.

However, researchers now believe they have found an alternative answer. According to a new study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, it actually requires less effort for a flamingo to stand on one leg than it does on two.

Professor Young-Hui Chang from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Lena H Ting of Emory University conducted a series of experiments using the bodies of dead flamingos – and found it was easier to stand them up on one leg rather than two.

“We demonstrated that flamingo cadavers could passively support body weight on one leg without any muscle activity while adopting a stable, unchanging, joint posture resembling that seen in live flamingos,” they wrote.

“By contrast, the cadaveric flamingo could not be stably held in a two-legged pose, suggesting a greater necessity for active muscle force to stabilize two-legged versus one-legged postures.

“Our results suggest that flamingos engage a passively engaged gravitational stay apparatus (proximally located) for weight support during one-legged standing.” 

They also discovered that live flamingos standing on one leg have “markedly reduced body sway during quiescent versus alert behaviours, with the point of force application directly under the distal joint, reducing the need for muscular joint torque.

“Taken together, our results highlight the possibility that flamingos stand for long durations on one leg without exacting high muscular forces and, thus, with little energetic expenditure.

“While we lack direct evidence, reduced energy expenditure could more generally explain how many birds with varied morphologies and ecological niches can benefit from this uniquely avian behaviour.” (The Telegraph)

A desert village in Rajasthan wins green battle against power station —

Apart from birds of local species, migratory birds come to the water bodies at Korna village in Barmer district (HT Photo)

Apart from birds of local species, migratory birds come to the water bodies at Korna village in Barmer district (HT Photo)

Residents of a village in Barmer district of Rajasthan, an Indian state, fought against construction of a power sub-station, and succeeded in saving a pasture land that sustains livestock and wildlife, and acts as a catchment area for five water bodies.

“Apart from birds of local species, migratory birds also come to the water bodies,” said Kuldeep Singh of Korna village. “The Great Indian Bustard, now only found in Jaisalmer district, was seen in Korna village in 1969. Plant species that died out in the Thar Desert are found near the water bodies.”

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the state government on May 16 not to construct the sub-station on the pasture land in Korna village.

The district administration allotted 400 bigha pasture land in September last year (2016) to set up the 765/400 KV grid sub-station. The land serves as a catchment area for five water bodies that sustain biodiversity in the village.

The water bodies in the village remain full throughout the year, though those in the Thar Desert usually dry up after the rainy season. A water-harvesting system – the pasture land prevents rainwater from flowing out – keeps ponds filled with water.

Villagers protested against the allotment of the pasture land for setting up the sub-station, but officials were unfazed.

During the hearing, the NGT directed the state government to submit a topographic map of Korna village prepared by the Survey of India. It also sought a report on the village biodiversity from the deputy conservator of forest (DCF) of Barmer.“The big question before us was how to save livestock without the pasture land,” said Heeraram Dewasi, a villager. “Then we filed a case against the land allotment in the NGT.”

After going through the report, NGT’s judicial member Dalip Singh and expert member SS Garbyal asked the state government to look for an alternative land for the sub-station, and restrained construction on the allotted one.

“This is a victory of the villagers’ struggle. Had a sub-station been constructed, the catchment of five water bodies would have been disturbed,” said Yashovardhan Sharma, Barmer convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Heritage (Intach).

According to the DCF report, local plant species, such as kair, khejri, jal, and jhadberi, are found on the land, besides wildlife, such as chinkara, peafowl, quails, partridge, coots, and desert fox.

Sanjeev Kumar, officer-in-charge of the Desert Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India, also submitted his report to the NGT after visiting the village. He said 34 species of resident terrestrial (passerine) have been found in Korna village, apart from wetland and migratory birds.

“The landscape of the habitat (pasture land) is suitable for free movement of the wildlife,” Kumar said. (Hindustan Times)