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Indian scientist: Bird strike can be reduced

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New Delhi: Birds dying due to aircraft have been an issue for long. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India’s aviation safety regulator), from 378 bird strikes recorded in 2010, incidents of collisions between birds and planes increased to 719 in 2015.

What can one do to identify the vulnerable species, save it and ensure safe air travel at the same time? Zooming in on unique genetic labels through DNA barcoding could be the key, say Indian researchers.

“Identification of bird species helps in understanding the behavior of birds in terms of its habitat, diet and the like. This data helps in the management of birds for air safety management and could lower bird strikes,” Yogesh Shouche, a senior scientist at Microbial Culture Collection (MCC), National Center for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune said.

Just as shopkeepers scan the similar-yet-different zebra stripes (barcodes) on products to keep track of what they sell and what is in stock, examining certain ubiquitous genetic sequences can differentiate one species from another with high accuracy.

“A database of DNA barcodes is generated using authenticated, well identified bird samples. This helps in easy and quick identification of remnants obtained after a bird strike. These are in the form of feathers, bloodstains and the like and accurate identification using this is not possible otherwise.

“Currently we do not have any such database in India, but there are global databases which may not have entries of bird species endemic to India,” he added.

Bird strikes not only result in financial losses, they also lower mission capability of the crew, loss of flying hours, permanent damage to the aircraft and, importantly, are always associated with the risk of mortality, the researcher stressed.

“We identified 16 different species and barn owl and red wattled lapwing were the most common species found, probably because they nest on buildings and due to grassy land near airstrips, food availability is better,” he explained.

The procedure also helped the researchers in detecting non-bird species: they found three bat species in the bird strike samples.

“Identification of birds involved in strikes was not a regular practice in India. It was done at some airports like Mumbai and Bangalore (Bengaluru) by people with expertise in bird identification using morphological means (from form and structure).

“However, such identification is difficult if the body of the bird is not found. Feathers give limited identification and if there are only bloodstains, no identification is possible. Hence barcoding has advantage,” added Shouche. The research was published in a recent Current Science article.(IANS)(image: businessinsider.com.au)

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The International Rescue Committee Releases Report Stating Five Most Dangerous Places In The World For Adolescent Girls

The United Nations officially recognized International Women's Day for the first time in 1975. In 2011, then-U.S. President Barack Obama took Women's Day a step further, declaring March Women's History Month.

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Women
FILE - A woman writes the word "Free" on her friend at an event marking International Women's Day in Santiago, Chile. VOA

Civic and governmental organizations around the world are preparing to recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday.

International Women’s Day is a more than 100-year-old celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural and political successes worldwide while also calling for gender equality.

It falls on the same day every year, March 8, and brings together governments, women’s organizations, businesses and charities. Cities and towns around the world mark the day with rallies, conferences, art and cultural projects, and lectures.

It began in 1908 when 15,000 women garment workers went on strike and marched through the streets of New York, demanding shorter work hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1910, a German woman named Clara Zetkin suggested the declaration of a Women’s Day at an international conference attended by 100 women. The idea was accepted unanimously.

In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. More than 1 million women and men attended demonstrations in support of a woman’s right to work, vote, study and hold public office.

FILE - A woman takes part in an International Women's Day march in Santiago, Chile.
A woman takes part in an International Women’s Day march in Santiago, Chile. VOA
The United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day for the first time in 1975. In 2011, then-U.S. President Barack Obama took Women’s Day a step further, declaring March Women’s History Month.

Since the day is not country-, group- or organization-specific, the focus for each year’s celebration varies widely, but all are centered around the myriad issues faced by women around the world.

5 Most Dangerous Countries for Adolescent Girls
5 Most Dangerous Countries for Adolescent Girls

Violence, other dangers

Ahead of the International Women’s Day, the International Rescue Committee has released a report on the five most dangerous places in the world to be an adolescent girl. Taking into consideration data on child marriage, adolescent birth rates, literacy, rates of violence and child labor, the IRC named Niger, Yemen, Bangladesh, South Sudan and the Central African Republic as the most dangerous for young girls.

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Bangladesh, South Sudan and the Central African Republic led the group in gender-based violence. The IRC noted that 65 percent of women and girls in South Sudan have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, making it one of the highest rates in the world. (VOA)