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The Indian Peafowl- The Auspicious Bird found so far in India.

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Peafowl (Pavocristatus) is a bright colored bird admired by humans for several years. Among several species, the Indian peafowl or the blue peacock is the popular one which is available in the regions of India and Sri Lanka. The green peacock lives in Myanmar and Java and the Congo peacock is found in the African rain forest. Peacock is the national bird of India and is celebrated in Greek and Hindu mythology. In the year 1963, the peacock was declared the national bird of India.

We usually get confused between peafowl and peacock. Actually, the peacock is the male and peahen in the female bird. They both together are known as peafowl. We usually see and admire peacocks in the zoo so we are very less aware of peahens and the term peafowl.

The peacock is usually admired because of its beauty. Its wire-like spatula-tipped feathers that have got fan-like crest is extremely magnificent to see. The colorful eyespots at the upper tail enhance the beauty of these birds.

Difference between peacock and peahen

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The peacock is usually blue in color and has got wire-like spatula-tipped feathers with fan-like crest. Although less they are capable of flight. Peahen, on the contrary, are not capable to fly. They have a dull brown plumage with lower neck greenish in color.

Peafowl- where and how to detect?

Indian peafowl loves to dodge on ground, open forest, or cultivated land. They forage for food, grains, and berries on cultivated land. They prey lizard, snake and other small rodents on forests and open grounds, usually in small groups.

During danger, they prefer to escape on foot rather than flying. Although they can fly high into tall trees, they mostly prefer to move on grounds, in groups and forage for foods. They can easily be detected by their loud calls. They can easily make you aware of predators like lions in forests by their voice.

The function of the elaborate plumage in peacock

There has been a lot of debates about the peacock’s long train of plumage. About 150 years ago in the 19th Century, Charles Darwin wrote about the colorful beauty of the peacock’s tail. As per his theory, it’s the way of sexual selection in male.

Although as per Victorian thinking the elaborate train on peacock’s feather is the God’s creation of aesthetic sense in animals. The natural selection in peacocks is widely accepted world wise although there have been several mechanisms involved in this regard.

As per the recent study, when peacocks quiver their ornamented train of feathers produces infrasonic sound to attract peahens during mating season. This sound is a low-frequency sound which is inaudible to human ears.

Some interesting facts about peafowls

Only males are peacock: As we’ve already discussed male peafowls are actually peacock. Females are known as peahens and baby peafowls are known as peachicks.

Collection of peafowls are known as a “Bevy”: They are even called ostentation, a party or a muster.

Peafowls aren’t born with ornamental showy trains: The fancy trains of peachicks start showing after the age of three. Moreover, sex determination of peachicks become quite difficult until 6 months of age. After that male peafowls begin to change color.

Peacocks shed their feathers every year: Luckily for collecting feathers of peacocks, they’re not required to be killed. They shed their trains after the mating season every year. These feathers can be collected and sold.

Peafowls have a shorter life span in forests: Peafowls prefer to spend their lives in forests with other members. They’re extremely social and like to hover around with a group of other peafowls. They don’t like to be tamed. But if they’re tamed they can survive up to 50 years. Whereas in forests they survive till 20 years due to more life risks over there.

Despite their enormous trains, they can fly: The length of a peacock’s train is almost six feet which is 60% of their body length. But this proportion has never caused a problem in their flight. They can fly very easily, although not too far.

The brilliant fluorescent color on trains are due to tiny crystal-like structures: Some microscopic crystal-like structures on their feathers make them look so brilliant. Those crystals reflect lights of different wavelength, resulting in bright colors. The similar visual effects can be seen on the wings of shimmering butterflies and hummingbirds.

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It’s Heartbreaking! A Pregnant Elephant Dies in Kerala after a Pineapple Filled with Crackers Exploded in its Mouth

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Pregnant Elephant Died
Image Credit : Timesnownews

News room. Written by : Anne Kamwila, Staff Member, Nature Talkies.

A young, pregnant elephant in Silent Valley Forest (Kerala) fell victim to heinous human cruelty after being fed a pineapple stuffed with crackers. The stuff exploded in her mouth as she munched the fruit. According to a senior forest officer, the elephant’s jaw broke, and she was unable to eat. The officer firmly believed that someone fed the elephant crackers with intend to eliminate her.

The pineapple of death

According to Mr. Surendrakumar, the young elephant died at Malappuram district’s Velliyar River on May 27th, 2020. The post-mortem proved beyond any reasonable doubt, that, indeed, the pachyderm was pregnant. The wild elephant had meandered into the village in search of greener pastures.

Most locals use pineapples with country-made crackers to protect their farms against wild boars. Unfortunately, the young elephant ate one of these deadly fruits. It exploded in her mouth, resulting in the inevitable tragedy.

The powerful cracker explosion caused severe injuries in the elephant’s mouth – a damaged tongue, broken jaw, and other severe injuries. The poor animal walked around in the village for several days in excruciating pain and searing hunger. She couldn’t eat anything and eventually walked back to the wild.

Her injuries were discovered on May 25th, two days before the sad news emerged – her death. The last photos of the poor animal place her along the banks of Velliyar River. There are also photos that show her standing in the river with her trunk and mouth in the water. This probably gave some kind of relief from the searing pain caused by the cracker explosion.

The forest official used two captive elephants – Neelakanthan and Surendran, to help lead the injured elephant out of the water. Various attempts by the officials to rescue the pregnant elephant failed, and at 4 pm on May 27th, the young elephant succumbed to her injuries while standing in water.

More information: Save Animals that are on the Threshold of Becoming Extinct

So far, no arrests made

No one has been arrested a week after the unfortunate death of the young elephant. Her death and the trauma she endured has caused outrage, with hundreds of thousands calling for legal action against the perpetrators.

One of the senior officers issued an arrest order and assured the world that the culprit would be nabbed and punished for ‘hunting’ the young elephant. The forest officials and police have launched a probe to arrest the man believed to have offered the elephant that ‘pineapple of death.’

The entire issue came to light after one of the forest officials narrated the cruelty and the horrific death of the pregnant elephant on social media.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister, said that strict action would be taken against the people responsible for the heinous acts that led to the death of the young, pregnant elephant. “The forest officials are probing the case, and the culprits will be definitely be brought to book.” He concluded.

According to the post mortem, it’s possible that the elephant ate the cracker-stuffed pineapple at the end of April or the early days of May.  “We don’t know the exact day when the incident occurred. But given the severe starvation and shrinking of the elephant, it’s estimated that the incident occurred 20 days ago,” one of the officers told NDTV.

This is not the first time an elephant has died in Kerala. A report of another elephant that died in the same state, under similar circumstances has surfaced. The young elephant is said to have died in April in the same region. It’s evident that the authorities should take the right measures to protect these wild animals from merciless hunters.

News formation source: The Hindu : NDTV , Times Now News

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Celebrate Biodiversity: Top Reasons to Commemorate the World Environment Day

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Celebrate Biodiversity
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What is biodiversity? And what does World Environment Day have to do with the need to celebrate biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the “foundation of ecosystem services to which human wellbeing is intimately linked.”

Humankind is part of the dynamic, complex, and varied multi-layered ecosystem. Each layer in the bio network has a singular role to fulfill. And all the layers work in harmony with one another. Consequently, if a layer gets removed, both sides of this layer collapse.

And, because people are at the top of the ecological model or pyramid, we have the biggest impact on all the layers underneath us. Therefore, we have the biggest responsibility to ensure that the ecosystems below us function optimally and remain in ecological balance or harmony. We maybe don’t see it, but when the natural order goes out of sync, we suffer as well as the other parts of the natural world.

A modern example is an increase in the number and intensity of tropical storms, cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes, caused by global warming. Succinctly stated, as the earth’s temperature heats up, the warmer oceans facilitate the development of severe storms with higher winds speeds that are capable of causing major damage as they reach areas where people live. As an aside, these weather systems are similar in that they are severe weather events that cause untold destruction when they move over urban settlement areas. Their fundamental difference is where they form.

For example, a hurricane forms over the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific oceans. A typhoon forms over the Northwest Pacific. And, cyclones occur in the Indian and South Pacific oceans.

According to weather.com, on 20 May 2020, ”the tropical cyclone Amphan made landfall with major storm surges, high winds, and flooding rainfall in India and Bangladesh.” Its original peak intensity was a category 5 storm, but it weakened to a category 2 as it moved over West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh.

Reasons to Celebrate Biodiversity

We have established the quintessential nature of the natural order and the need for biodiversity within the natural world, let’s now move onto reasons why we should celebrate our biodiversity.

We must remember

The most straightforward reason to commemorate the world’s biodiversity is that if we remind ourselves of the importance to take care of the environment. This sounds like a trite statement. However, as described above, it is imperative to secure a living environment for future generations.

The key to preventing pandemics

The website, Activesustainability.com notes that over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood, while another 1.6 billion people rely on the world’s forests for their living. And, there is evidence to suggest that the “loss of biodiversity could increase the number of cases of zoonoses” like Ebola, COVID-19, and SARS and MERS. In fact, 70% of new communicable diseases have originated from viruses like zoonoses.

Since more than one animal species are often involved in the spread of infection, the loss of “biodiversity and extinction of many of those species increases the chances of the pathogens reaching human beings.”

In other words, if we protect the natural kingdom and natural order of species, the risk of infectious diseases from zoonoses will reduce substantially.

Final thoughts

In summary, it is vital to celebrate our biodiversity and commemorate world environment day on 5 June 2020 as it reminds us how critical it is to take care of the world’s ecosystems so that they remain in harmony and balance. Otherwise, the world’s flora and fauna, including humankind, will not survive.

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King Stringy And Other Tallest Trees Inhabiting The Planet Earth

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King Stringy
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Are you one of those nature lovers who love to get lost in deep woods? Does the very thought of wandering in forests, the smallness of being around giant trees like King Stringy whose sheltering canopy, age-old bark, and earthly scent evoke a deep sense of fulfillment within you? If yes, then check our list of the most towering trees that you have to visit at least once in your life.

The mightiest trees of the earth to make us realize how small we are:

For centuries, mankind has witnessed a strange divinity in trees. In several cultures, people worship trees. The key reason behind this is that they are a major life source for us. But, the fact that they are also extremely beautiful adds to our fascination regarding trees. Isn’t it amazing that some of them grow as tall as a 20-story or a 30-story building? No, there is no exaggeration in the above statement. There are such giant trees in the world whose greatness will leave you mesmerized.

Here is a list of the tallest trees for tree lovers like you:

Hyperion in Redwood National Park

The world’s tallest tree is a redwood, namely Hyperion, situate in Redwood National Park of California. The height of Hyperion is 380 feet, thus appropriately named.

This tree is 600 years old and its exact location is kept as a secret to reduce threats of vandalism.

King Stringy in Tasmania

Lovingly named King Stringy, this is a stringy-bark tree standing at an awe-inspiring height of 282 feet. It is the tallest member of the Eucalyptus oblique family.

It has derived this unique name because of its stringy and flaky bark that peels off easily. Nevertheless, the bark and the wood of King Stringy are extremely sturdy and the flowers are loved haven by bees. Having survived several natural threats, the pretty kingly tree is one of the toughest trees.

Nehemiah Loggorale Meena in Tasmania

Believe us when you say that Neeminah Loggorale Meena is as tall as its long name. Standing with pride in the deep forests of Tasmania, this blue gem tree is one of a kind.

The meaning of Neeminah Loggorale Meena is ‘mother and daughter’ in the Aboriginal language. It stands completely isolated in an area and is 298 feet tall. The Tasmanian Forestry Law clearly states that any tree exceeding the height of 278 feet cannot be cut down, ensuring the safety of such huge trees.

Alpine Ash in Tasmania

The Florentine Valley of Tasmania is famous for its untouched, ancient forests. There are rows of tall Eucalyptus delegatensis trees. The tallest one in the group has reached 288 feet from the ground.

Deforestation is a serious threat to the Florentine Valley, but the conservation groups are trying their best to preserve forests.

White Knight, Evercreech Forest Reserve

Though the White Knight has not saved any damsel in distress, its height alone is heroic. Standing at an inspiring height of 299 feet, it is one of the pride of Tasmanian forests. Dendrophiles from all around the globe visit the White Knight.

So, one trip to Tasmania will give you the opportunity of looking at some of the largest trees with your own eyes.

Raven’s Tower in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

If you visit the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, you can spot the Raven’s Tower. The height of this tree is 317 and the park was established with the intention of protecting the lofty trees of the area.

Centurion in Arve Valley

You’ll find the second tallest tree of the world on the small island of Tasmania in Australia. This giant tree, Centurion is 330 feet tall and has got its name from Roman centurions.

There was a devastating bushfire in southern Tasmania in February 2019, and Centurion has been luckily saved. 

Giant  Sequoia in Sequoia National Forest

The Giant Sequoias are the world’s biggest trees. Once you step into a sequoia forest, you’ll never feel like leaving the place. 

The name of the tallest Giant Sequoia tree is General Sherman tree. Situated in the Sequoia National Park in California’s Tulare County, it has a height of 275 feet.

Conclusion:

Other than King Stringy, Hyperion and Centurion, there are some other tallest trees such as Menara, Doerner Fir, and Yellow Meranti.

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