New Delhi: Agronomists in Assam are helping farmers fight and manage rodents with the help of a natural pest control, the humble barn owl.
Scientists from the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) of Assam Agricultural University have distributed artificial wooden nesting boxes to farmers in several districts for these birds to roost on. Known as “farmers’ friends”, barn owls act as natural pest control agents since they feed on more than 20 types of mammalian species, including rodents.
It all started in 2012 when Prabal Saikia, Ornithologist and Chief Scientist at RARS, heard of a man named Dilip Konwar from Lakhimpur district in Assam who was housing a family of owls in his rice mill to ward off rats.
Saikia soon began an experiment and developed artificial nests for barn owls to roost near farms. The experiment was a success, and soon Saikia and a few other scientists started distributing these nests to farmers.
“Natural control of insects, pests and rodents is crucial at present as the market value of organic products has increased exponentially,” Saikia told Mongabay.
He also said that 90% of rodent control is usually done by barn owls.
Athlete from Manipur ‘breaks’ world fingertip push-up record
Thounaojam Niranjoy Singh, a 24-year-old athlete from Manipur, reportedly broke the Guinness Book of World Records on Friday for the most fingertip push-ups in one minute. He is believed to have broken the record of 105 fingertip push-ups in one minute set by Briton Graham Maly in 2009.
Singh’s performance of 109 push-ups was recorded in a Guinness Book of World Records attempt hosted by Aztecs Sports Manipur in Imphal.
Thangjam Parmananda, founder of Aztecs Sports Manipur, reportedly said they would now send their videos to the Guinness Book of World Records authorities in London to verify the record.
Singh previously broke world records for most one-arm push-ups in one minute (2019) and most one-arm push-ups in one minute (2020).
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Guwahati engineer behind Assam’s first biomedical waste plant
As part of her university project, Partha Pathak from Guwahati studied waste disposal management at a city hospital in 1993-94. More than a decade later, he founded Assam’s first biomedical waste plant.
The 47-year-old quit his job at a Mumbai-based oil company in 2003 to tackle the biomedical waste problem in his home country.
“Being at a higher geographical altitude, the waste disposal system of the city (Guwahati) was not on par with other lower metropolitan cities like Mumbai… With my experiences and observations of living in a metropolitan city, I anticipated that my hometown would grow in the coming years and require an efficient waste management system. I started working on it, but kept the focus on biomedical waste,” said he declared. The best India.
In 2009 he started Fresh Air Waste Management Services Pvt Ltd. which proposes a “common system for setting up an incinerator”.
“It was an entirely new concept, and I found it difficult to get loans. There was no proven or existing model to present to the bank. A waste disposal service surprised bank officials,” he added.
His company now serves several hospitals and treats around 2,000 kg of waste.
Scientists spot a clouded leopard in the hills of Nagaland for the first time
A team of researchers first spotted the elusive clouded leopard in Nagaland. The animal was filmed at an altitude of 3,700 meters inside a community-owned forest near the Indo-Burma border. It was also one of the highest clouded leopard sightings in India.
The animal was spotted during a survey conducted by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), a Delhi-based conservation NGO, in collaboration with residents of Thanamir village in Nagaland, between 2020 and 2021. Reports on the findings were published in the winter. 2021 issue of Cat News, a bi-annual newsletter from the IUCN/Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group.
The clouded leopard is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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