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Fauna

International

Bali Zoo celebrated Tumpek Kandang ritual for all its resident faunas

The Tumpek Kandang ceremony is a tribute to God of Creator and Preserver (God Shiva).

The most recent Tumpek Kandang ceremony in Bali Zoo was held on October 12. The main purpose of the ceremony was to pray for an eternal safety and a healthy state of the animals, also to hope for a disease-free condition. It was also celebrated in order to respect the meaningful bond that grow in a relationship between human and other well-beings, especially animals, which by some means, the celebration also gave hope to wildlife preservation. What have been mentioned above are essentially aligned with the mission of Bali Zoo, which always put animal preservation on top missions. With that alignment, the ceremonies that had been held at Bali Zoo always sparked joy. During the most recent ceremony, all animals were well-fed with special treats and the temple master sprinkled each of them with holy water. The special treats consisted of food and drink that symbolize a worship to Sang Hyang Rare Angon – an embodiment of Dewa Siwa (God Shiva) whose in power of all beings, notably animals.

In the Hindu philosophy, Tumpek Kandang falls once every 210 days, thus the Hindus are usually celebrating this tradition twice a year and the day always falls on Saturday. For Bali Zoo, Tumpek Kandang is a sacred tradition that has to be commemorated every half-yearly. The zoo celebrates it for the entire animals that reside in the zoo, which in total have reached more than 500 faunas.

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“The Tumpek Kandang ceremony is a tribute to God of Creator and Preserver (God Shiva). The Hindus are familiar with this ceremony as it is a solemn prayer to ask for animals’ safety, as well as to hope for disease-free and healthy animals. This ceremony is also a way to appreciate compassion towards all animals at Bali Zoo. On a different note, Tumpek Kandang is also associated with Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese philosophy of life. The philosophy teaches us three causes of well-being, one of them is Palemahan which is a Balinese word to remain care about our surroundings and that surely include animals,” said Lesmana Putra, Bali Zoo’s General Manager.

The unique vibe and colorful atmosphere of Tumpek Kandang succesfully attracted many domestic and international tourists that happened to be at Bali Zoo during the ceremony was held. They watched and fascinated by the wonderful rituals. All the employees of Bali Zoo joined the ceremony, they were all wearing their traditional Balinese attire which showed vibrant color and beautiful patterns. They were fully aware that the spirit of this ceremony is to keep the balance between human and animals since they have mutually beneficial relationship.  PTI

International

New species of orchid discovered in Tibet

Researchers have discovered a new species of orchid in southwestern China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and the finding has been published on a scientific journal.

Li Jianwu, senior engineer of the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of the authors said the new species was found during a botanical survey in 2017 in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin in Bomi and Medog counties in Tibet.

Growing on trees or mossy rocks near the riverside with an altitude of 1,700 to 2,000 meters, the orchid has conical pseudobulbs, ovate-oblong leaves, and ovate-rhomnus petals.

Researchers transplanted the orchid to the tropical botanical garden in southwestern Yunnan Province and later confirmed it as a new species.

The new finding has been published on Phytotaxa. (Xinhua))

Science

Multiple threats to Himalayan biodiversity

The Indian Himalayas, which constitute about 12% of the country’s landmass, is home to about 30.16% of its fauna, says a new publication from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

The publication, Faunal Diversity of Indian Himalaya, lists 30,377 species/subspecies in the region with the entire identified fauna in the country adding up to 1,00,762.

Spread across six States — from Jammu and Kashmir in the west through Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and West Bengal’s Darjeeling to Arunachal Pradesh in the far east —the Indian Himalayas are divided into two bio-geographic zones — the Trans-Himalaya and the Himalaya, based on physiographic, climatic and eco-biological attributes.

Pit viper

Pit viper

Abundance of species

The entire region, spread over 3.95 lakh sq. km., is home to 280 species of mammals, 940 species of birds, 316 species of fishes, 200 species of reptiles and 80 species of amphibians. This put together accounts for 27.6% of the total vertebrate diversity of the country.

The central Himalayas are the most rich in faunal diversity with 14,183 species, followed by the west Himalayas, which is home to 12,022 species.

Dr. Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, one of the authors of the publication, said no other geographic region in the country is as unique and influences the ecology and bio-geography of the country as the Indian Himalayas.

Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) seen near Rhongo village Ladakh (1)

Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) seen near Rhongo village Ladakh 

Extensive collaboration

According to Dr. Chandra, 85 taxonomic experts and specialists of various groups of faunal groups actively collaborated and contributed more than 50 chapters on the organisms, their habitats and the threats facing them.

In addition to Dr. Chandra, the publication has been co-authored by K.C. Gopi, Devanshu Gupta, Bausudev Tripathi and Vikas Kumar.

Measuring the range of species spread over the biotic provinces of the vast Indian Himalayan land mass, the authors aimed to identify areas for future research.

Dr. Chandra said the fauna of the region exhibited an intermingling of both the Oriental and Palaearctic-Ethiopian elements. He explained that the eastern parts of the Indian Himalayas, a bio-diversity hotspot, had tropical elements with their affinities from Indo-Chinese and Malayan sub-regions of the Oriental region. The fauna of the western part of the Indian Himalayas on the other hand, comprises the Mediterranean and Ethiopian elements.

The Indian Himalayas also have 131 protected areas, which cover 9.6% of the entire protected area of the country, almost the same as the Western Ghats (10% of protected areas), another biodiversity hotspot in the country. The protected areas include 20 national parks, 71 wildlife sanctuaries, five tiger reserves, four biosphere reserves and seven Ramsar Wetland sites.

The publication lists 133 vertebrate species of the region cited as threatened in the IUCN Red List. This includes 43 species of mammals like the critically endangered Pygmy Hog, the Namdapha flying squirrel and the endangered Snow leopard, the Red Panda and the Kashmir Gray Langur.

Fifty-two species of birds are also in the threatened category like the critically endangered White-Bellied Heron and Siberian crane and vulnerable species like the Black Necked crane and the Indian Spotted eagle, among others. Of the 940 bird species found in the Indian Himalayas, 39 are endemic to the region.

The Indian Himalayas host 1,249 species/subspecies of butterflies, with the highest density recorded in Arunachal Pradesh. Some of the rare high-altitude butterflies found in the Himalayas are Parnassius stoliczkanus (Ladakh banded Apollo) and Parnassius epaphus (Red Apollo), listed under Schedule I and Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, respectively.

Role of climate change

According to experts, most of the threatened species of vertebrates, particularly mammals, require population assessment and study of the role of climate change on their habitat.

Climate change is the major threat as far as mammals and birds are concerned. The impact is visible in the shifting distribution of sensitive species like the Asiatic Black Bear, the Snow leopard, and the Himalayan Marmot. “Carnivores and their habitats are threatened by ever-increasing human-wildlife conflict in the region,” the publication states.

Habitat loss due to land use change, illegal wildlife trade, forest fires and increasing anthropogenic activities pose threats to this Himayalan biodiversity, the publication underlines.

by Shiv Sahay Singh