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Thu 23rd of November 2017

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Earth facing sixth mass extinction: study

According to research, a “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared.

What are the factors behind the loss?

  • The main drivers of wildlife decline are habitat loss, overconsumption, pollution, invasive species, disease, as well as poaching in the case of tigers, elephants, rhinos and other large animals prized for their body parts.
  • Climate change is poised to become a major threat in the coming decades.

Highlights of the study:

  • Globally, the mass die-off — deemed to be the sixth in the last half-billion years — is the worst since three-quarters of life on the Earth, including the non-avian dinosaurs, were wiped out 66 million years ago by a giant meteor impact. On an average, two vertebrate species disappear every year.
  • More than 30% of animals with a backbone — fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals — are declining in both range and population.
  • The mammal species that were monitored have lost at least a third of their original habitat. 40% of them — including rhinos, orangutans, gorillas and many big cats — are surviving on 20% or less of the land they once roamed. The loss of biodiversity has recently accelerated.
  • Several species of mammals that were relatively safe one or two decades ago are now endangered, including cheetahs, lions and giraffes. There are as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild, less than 7,000 cheetahs, 500 to 1,000 giant pandas, and about 250 Sumatran rhinoceros.
  • Tropical regions have seen the highest number of declining species. In South and Southeast Asia, large-bodied species of mammals have lost more than four-fifths of their historical ranges.
  • While fewer species are disappearing in temperate zones, the percentage is just as high or higher.
  • As many as half of the number of animals that once shared our planet are no longer here, a loss described as “a massive erosion of the greatest biological diversity in the history of Earth”.
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Prelims Question of the Day

With reference to 'Natural Rate of Unemployment', consider the following statements.

1. It is the level of unemployment in an economy that is just consistent with a stable rate of Inflation.

2. It is the unemployment that prevails when all markets in the economy are in equilibrium.

 

(a)1 and 2

(b)2 only

(c)1 only

(d)None of the above

Mains Question of the Day

1.GS-No party in power can afford to ignore Directive Principles of State Policy. Comment.(200 Words)

2.Political Science - Explain the role of non state actors, like IMF, World Bank, European Union and MNCs, in modulating and transforming the broad dynamics of international relations. (250 Words).

3.SOCIOLOGY - What is the impact of Globalization on the structure and mobilization of the working class in India? (250 Words).

Sociology - Thinkers