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 DNAbarcoding 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)
On 5th December 2017, The Jatayu Nature Park became partially operational by the inauguration of Adventure Rock Hill
The giant concrete sculpture of Jatayu is built on a mighty rock named Jatayupara
This rock theme park will be a treat to the eyes as well as the sense of adventure for the tourists
Jatayu Nature Park is a tourism centre at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala. It holds the distinction of having the world’s largest bird sculpture and is one of the best Kerala tourist places. On 5th December 2017, The park became partially operational by the inauguration of Adventure Rock Hill. The structure is designed by Rajiv Anchal and is about 38 km away from Kollam and 46 km away from Thiruvananthapuram.
The giant concrete sculpture of Jatayu is built on a mighty rock named Jatayupara (Jatayu is the name of the bird and para means rock in Malayalam). As per Hindu mythology, when Ravana was abducting Sita Mata to Lanka, Jatayu intervened to rescue Sita Mata. During the clash, Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana but in the end, Ravana got the better of Jatayu. While searching for Sita Mata, Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu, who informs them about the abduction by Ravana. Thus Jatayu Earth’s Center is conceptualized with environmental protection and ecological equilibrium.
It is said that Jatayu fell on the rocks in Chadayamangalam after his wings were chopped off by Ravana.
The mastermind behind this structure is a renowned film director, art director and sculptor Mr.Rajiv Anchal. He along with his team took about ten years to meticulously design and completes this monumental project. The project is the first joint effort by the Tourism Department of Kerala and Mr Rajiv Anchal to create a unique tourist destination which offers almost all aspects of Kerala tourism. The land on which Jatayu Nature Park is been constructed is leased by Guruchandrika Builders and Property Pvt. Ltd. from the government for 30 years to build and operate.
This rock theme park will be a treat to the eyes as well as the sense of adventure for the tourists. Jatayu Nature Park is designed on a BOT (build-operate-transfer) model.
Jatayu Earth’s Center tourism is spread over 65 acres of the multi-terrain landscape at Jatayupara near Kollam district of Kerala. The structure is 1000 feet above sea level and has diverse geographic features ranging from hills, valleys, rugged rocks, caves to cultivable lands. The destination is right at the centre of south Kerala and is easily accessible. The nearest international airport, Trivandrum, is only 50 km away from the location.
Jatayu Earth’s Center is an apt example of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism in India. The hills, valleys, caves and vegetation spread across 65 acres remain almost unaffected even though a tourist destination. It is believed that the Jatayu sculpture stands as a guardian to the hills and rocks by protects them from everything. Hence, the name is quite suitable for this project.
One of the tasks to build the structure was the uninterrupted availability of water source because due to multi-terrain location, it was really tough to find enough resource for water. But after a thorough search, a check dam was constructed between two rock valleys with a capacity of twenty lakhs litres for water conservation. Thus, the water issue was instantly solved by storing the rainwater and using it throughout the year. Then the electricity required for the project was domestically harnessed from solar power.
All along the location, a planned agricultural society is formed to promote organic farming. Hence, visitors will be able to buy fresh products from these farms.
Paradigm of courage
Jatayu is believed to be a symbol of valour and chivalry. Risking his life, Jatayu tried his best to save Sita Mata from her Ravana. Hence, the Jatayu sculpture stands as a towering tribute to women’s safety and honour. Jatayu depicts the period when humans, animals and birds cared for each other as fellow beings and lived in peace on this Earth.
Rajiv Anchal concludes that the structure symbolism has great relevance in today’s social scenario since the crime rate against women is on a high. Each visitor at Jatayu National Park is expected to understand and follow the inner essence of this inspiring creation.
Take a look at some of the listed facts of Jatayu National Park.
The tourist park sprawls over 65 acres of land and is home to a giant sculpture of Jatayu. The herculean dimensions of the great mythical bird Jatayu goes 200 feet long, 150 feet broad, 70 feet in height and has 15,000 square feet.
The sculpture is constructed at the same spot where Jatayu is said to take his last breath. Locals believe that the mythical bird fell on the rock after being struck down by Ravana.
The bird sculpture will also house a 6D theatre and an audio-visual based digital museum inside it. It is done so that people will get a glimpse of Ramayana. Visitors would also be able to cherish the bird’s eye view experience from 1,000 feet above the sea level, from inside the sculpture.
The sculpture has been designed and developed by a Malayalam film director, Rajiv Anchal. He is a renowned filmmaker and sculptor. Apparently, he is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Guruchandrika Builders and Property Private Limited.
In an interview with ‘The Indian Express’, he said, “It took us seven years to build the sculpture. It is basically a concrete structure that has been given a stone finish. Building it has been a major struggle as the terrain was hard and we had to carry all the materials to the top.”
The Jatayu Nature Park will also have an adventure zone and about 20 games centre. The adventure field in the park will include activities like paintball, laser tag, archery, rifle shooting, rock climbing, and bouldering. The place will also house ayurvedic cave resorts.