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By Sujit Chakraborty
Three northeastern states — Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram — are taking steps to protect the endangered clouded leopard, which was listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In India, clouded leopards are restricted to the country’s northeast region — the eastern Himalayas, the Assam valley, and the hills south of the Brahmaputra.
According to an official document, Mizoram’s Dampa Tiger Reserve holds the distinction of housing the highest number of clouded leopards in Southeast Asia.
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The density of population of clouded leopards, locally known as “Kelral”, is 5.14 per 100 sq km in the reserve, situated along the Mizoram-Bangladesh and Tripura. A Forest officials said that in 2018, India added clouded leopards to its recovery programme for critically endangered species to aid more research and strengthen conservation efforts.
“The state animal of Meghalaya, the Clouded Leopard, a beautiful spotted cat, is a majestic sight to watch. Sadly, it has been declared vulnerable by the IUCN. Let us work towards preserving such rare species,”
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma tweeted on the occasion of the ongoing wildlife week.
Meghalaya wildlife officials said that they have taken steps to protect the habitats of the Clouded Leopard and their captive breeding.
The officials said that the Indian Olympic Association is considering holding the 39th National Games in Meghalaya in 2023 and the Meghalaya state animal ‘Clouded Leopard’ has been chosen as the mascot for the National Games.
“Besides the governmental steps, we are trying to make people conscious about the significance of the conservation of the endangered clouded Leopard,” a Meghalaya forest official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Tripura’s Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Clouded Leopard National Park have also taken a series of steps for captive breeding of the species in the zoo. “Following the guidelines of the Zoo Authority of India, we have started the process of captive breeding in the zoo situated inside the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Clouded Leopard National Park,” Wildlife Warden Biplab Datta told IANS.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: उम्मीद है, आने वाले मैचों में ऐसा ही प्रदर्शन जारी रख सकेंगे : धोनी
He said that among the zoos in the country, the highest number of 9 Clouded Leopard is in the Sepahijala zoo (in western Tripura). “There are at least five wild Clouded Leopards in the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary,” Datta claimed.
Wildlife scientists and the Mizoram Forest Department indicate that clouded leopard density in Dampa Tiger Reserve is perhaps the highest among forests of South and South-East Asia where the species is found.
The state’s Environment, Forests and Climate Change Department in recent years placed several camera traps at different places across the Dampa Tiger Reserve, which captured the clouded leopards 84 times. Wildlife expert Apurba Kumar Dey said that like the clouded leopard, much of the wildlife in India’s northeast remains elusive, poorly understood, and inadequately protected.
A six-year-old boy was recently mauled to death by a leopard in Maligaon, on the outskirts of Assam’s main city of Guwahati. Maligaon, headquarters of the North East Frontier Railways and a place prone to human-leopard conflicts, comes in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation area, which encircles several big hills and seven reserve forest areas.
Earlier also several people were injured after being attacked by leopards in Maligaon and the adjoining areas. Wildlife activists said that the habitats of leopards and other wild animals have been shrinking over the decades due to encroachment by the people leading to man-animal conflict.
There have also been incidents in the recent past when angry mobs killed leopards and other wild animals. Wildlife activist Mubina Akhtar said that the hills are where the leopards live but people have been encroaching upon their habitats.
“There are seven reserve forest areas adjoining Guwahati city. The forest department has neither demarcated them properly nor has it put up any signs or notice boards, resulting in encroachment of forest land,” Akhtar told IANS over phone.
She said: “Since 2010, men and wild animal conflicts are rising in Guwahati areas. However, authorities are doing nothing to stop such incidents.” (IANS)
Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.
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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.
In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.
The herb has rounded leaves.Pixabay
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, with sweet basil being one of the most widely used. The herb has rounded leaves that are often pointed. It is a bright green plant, although some varieties have hints of purple or red in their leaves, basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes.
It has been observed that many of the cooks use basil to thicken their dessert instead of using any artificial/ unhealthy powder to do so. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between Chia seeds and basil seeds, to make it clear basil seeds are different in nature they are larger and a bit duller in their color. These herbs are used in various recipes as a cooling component in desserts, drinks, and fruit juices for refreshment, also beating the summer heat.
For better digestion, weight loss, and immune system, I suggest this simple recipe which can be easily made at home:
*Take 2 tsp of Basil seeds (sabja) + Add in 1/2 liter of water +10 mint leaves crushed
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + A little bit of sendha salt (pink Himalayan salt)
*Or to make a sweeter version one can add organic honey.
*Mix it well and drink it.
This recipe will help to flush out toxins from our body making it feel light and healthy. (IANS/SP)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)