UN study points to difficulties in breeding cheetahs in captivity
Cheetahs are “notoriously difficult to breed in captivity”, a new study by the global wildlife regulator affiliated to the United Nations has found based on long time research on cheetah breeding in captive facilities in Africa, the world’s largest wild home of the fastest land animal on the planet.
The study commissioned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be discussed by countries at the next standing committee meeting of CITES in Geneva from July 7 to 11, a notice of the meeting said.
The comprehensive study conducted by the cat specialist group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with two other organisations comes at the time when India has decided to import 8-10 cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia for breeding in captivity in Madhya Pradesh’s KunoPalpur National Park.
The first batch of cheetahs from the two countries are expected to reach Kuno by end of August. As of now, cheetah experts, two from South Africa and one from Namibia, are studying the changes made in the Kuno habitat for cheetah relocation and breeding.
The study suspected that the cubs are being smuggled from northern Africa, where they are available on private land, to these breeding centres to show success. “At present, it is unclear whether South African authorities can certify with confidence that all animals that are exported as specimens bred in captivity meet all the Convention’s bred-in-captivity conditions,” the study said.
South Africa is the world’s largest exporter of live cheetahs. Export of cheetahs from two breeding centres in South Africa are allowed for “commercial” purpose, although most of the export is reported for non-commercial zoo purpose. India is also getting cheetah from one of these centres.
UK pushed 1,00,000 people into poverty by lifting pension age: Report
The UK’s decision to raise the age at which people can claim pension benefits pushed almost 100,000 more people into poverty -- one-in-seven of those affected by the change.
The finding, in a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Center for Ageing Better, puts pressure on the government to extend the social safety net for those who are hit hardest.
It showed that people with lower levels of education and living in rented accommodation were most likely to suffer the biggest living standards and adds to broader concerns about a cost-of-living squeeze on household incomes.
“These statistics are shocking and show that the number of 65-year-olds in absolute poverty rose from one-in-10 before the state pension age increased to almost one-in-four just two years later,” said Emily Andrews, deputy director of the Center for Ageing Better.
Britain raised its state pension age to 66 from 65 between late 2018 and the end of 2020. That meant about 700,000 people on the brink of receiving benefits missed out on income of about £142 ($174) a week.
“Increasing the state pension age is a coherant government response to increasing life expectency,” said Laurence O’Brien, research economist at the IFS. “But it does weaken household budgets.”
India's domestic coal production increases by 28% as of June 16, 2022
After a record-breaking coal production of 777 million tonnes (MT) in 2021-22, domestic coal production continues to witness an increasing trend in the current financial year as well.
The total domestic coal production in 2022-23, as of May 31, 2022, is 137.85 MT, which is 28.6 per cent more as compared to the production of 104.83 MT in the same period of last year. This trend is being maintained in June, 2022 also, the Ministry of Coal.
The coal production by Coal India Ltd (CIL) is 28 per cent more than the production in the same period of the previous year (as of June 16, 2022). The Domestic coal production target for the current financial year is 911 MT which is 17.2 per cent more than the previous year.
In the last five years, the coal-based power generation has grown at a CAGR of 1.82 per cent whereas the domestic coal supply to power sector had grown at a CAGR of 3.26 per cent. Thus, coal supply to power sector has outpaced the growth in coal-based power generation and continues to do so in the present year too.
In the year 2021-22, coal supply from CIL to the DCB power plants has been more than the supply required to be made under Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA). CIL had supplied 540 MT coal, out of which 483 MT coal was supplied against FSA. This coal was sufficient for the power plants to run at 69 per cent PLF whereas the DCB power plants operated at a PLF of only 61.3 per cent in the year 2021-22.
In the year 2022-23, as per FSA, CIL was supposed to supply 120.67 MT coal to its linked power plants (at 85 per cent PLF) whereas CIL had supplied 129.58 MT coal (till 16.06.22). This supply is 7.4 per cent more than the supply required by the plants if they operate at 85 per cent PLF. The plants have operated at about 70 per cent PLF and the CIL coal supply to its FSA-linked plants is 30.4 per cent more than their requirement.
As on June 16, 2022, coal stock at different domestic coal mines is more than 52 MT, which is sufficient for about 24 days requirement of power plants. In addition to it, about 4.5 MT coal stock is available at various Goodshed sidings, Private Washeries and ports and is awaiting to be transported to the power plants.
During the monsoons, despite having high coal stock at mine ends, the coal companies face problems in transporting coal to the sidings due to flooding of mines and the wet coal jamming the Coal Handling Plants conveyor systems.
::Science and tech::
IIT Madras develops robot to clean septic tanks without human intervention
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have developed a robot to clean septic tanks without human intervention.
Named HomoSEP, ten units are planned to be deployed across Tamil Nadu and the researchers are in touch with sanitation workers to identify the locations, officials said.
Gujarat and Maharashtra are being considered for the deployment of the robots that have been developed with an aim to eliminate manual scavenging in the next phase, they said.
At present, first two HomoSEP units have been distributed to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary whose husbands died tragically during sanitation work, through the support of the NGO, SafaiKaramchariAndolan (SKA).
"The septic tank is a poisonous environment, filled with semi-solid and semi-fluid human faecalmaterial that make up about two-thirds of the tank," said PrabhuRajagopal, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras.
Sanitation workers will be able to operate the HomoSEP on their own, after being provided with relevant training and appropriate guidance along with necessary safety measures, both of which our team is working on right now," he said.
"Safety plays a vital role in this whole procedure, starting with the design of HomoSEP itself, he added.
India's NT Lalbiakkima loses WBC Asian title fight
Indian boxer NT Lalbiakkima lost to Filipino Jayson Vayson in a 10-round WBC Asian Boxing Council's continental light flyweight title fight in Dubai.
Vayson, who is ranked 47th in the world, handed Lalbiakkima his first loss in his 5-fight Pro career at the Dubai World Trade centre in a 10-round blockbuster night.
The two boxers were out to get each other from the first bell and did not let up on the high-octane action throughout the 10 rounds.
The Mizo boxer had a distinct height disadvantage and he tried to cover up for it with leaping jabs followed by right hooks. Jayson used his superior height and reach to keep Lalbiakkima at an arm's length throughout the fight.