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New discovery in the remote mountains of Cambodia

Posted on 25 November 2010 by RE Team

The Cardamom Mountains rain forests are one of the largest, isolated and still mostly unexplored forests in southeast  Asia. This mountain range has been carefully keeping species and lives unkonown to outside world due to lack of proper research. But there are recent efforts in this direction by researchers and sceintists to discover this hidden treasure of nature. One such successful mission is reported yesterday by Fauna and Flora International (FFI). The organization has discovered a new unique species which is a carnivorous pitcher plant. It is named as “Nepenthes holdenii“.


Nepenthes Holdenii


In 2008, British photographer and biologist, Jeremy Holden,contacted the first author to study an apparently undiagnosed Nepenthes that he observed on an isolated peak from the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. This taxon was first observed during field surveys conducted for Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in February 2006. Populations were seen in four different locations around a single mountain system, all in dry, steep terrain characterised by open areas of tall grasses and pine trees at 600-750 meters above sea level. In August 2009, French botanist F.S. Mey visited Cambodia together with J. Holden in order to study and collect the unidentified Nepenthes. During this expedition, a second population of the taxon was found on a neighbouring peak. Studies of the two populations in situ emonstrated that the taxon possesses a unique combination of features that distinguish it from all other known Nepenthes taxa. Comparison of wild plants and herbarium material confirmed that this is an undescribed taxon. It appears to belong to a group of closely  related Indochinese species that share similar ecological habitats. This new species is named as ‘Nepenthes holdenii’. The description of the new taxon Nepenthes holdenii brings the number of Cambodian Nepenthes species to five.

The large red and green pitchers that characterize ‘Nepenthes holdenii’ are actually modified leaves designed to capture and digest insects. The pitchers can reach up to 30 centimeters long. The carnivorous strategy allows the plants to gain additional nutrients and flourish in otherwise impoverished soils. A further unusual adaptation seen in this new species is its ability to cope with fire and extended periods of drought. Cambodia’s dry season causes forests to desiccate and forest fires are common. Nepenthes holdenii exploits the clearings caused by these regular blazes by producing a large underground tuber which sends up a new pitcher- bearing vine after the fires have passed.

This discovery has once more proved a need of deeper research into the Cardamom Mountains to find the treasure of biodiversity.

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Success Story: European Bats

Posted on 26 October 2010 by RE Team

New research backed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reveals European bats to be a major conservation success. Bats are the only true flying mammal in the Earth and there are more than 1,1oo known bat species across the planet. They play very crucial role  in insect control and pollination.

With a majority of bat species in Europe stabilising or increasing in number, European bats are well on the way to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 7 on Environmental Sustainability, which aims for a significant reduction in the rate of species loss by 2010.


European Bat


This bucks the trend in global conservation targets, which are currently being discussed in Nagoya. World governments agreed eight years ago at a UN summit in Johannesburg to reduce the rate of species loss by 2010 but in the majority of cases, the pledge has not been met. This is mainly due to a lack of conservation action in the field, which is essential in protecting vulnerable species.

Among the 26 bat species in western and central Europe, increasing or stable population trends have been reported for at least 14 species, while only two species have shown a decline. (Reliable data is not yet available for the remaining species).

The credit of this success largely goes to legislation and treaties that promotes specific conservation measures. These include the UNEP-administered Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS), the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Council of Europe) and the European Union’s Flora Fauna Habitat Directive.

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Loss of three precious lives

Posted on 27 April 2010 by RE Team

The Tiger, King of the Jungle, may be the Mascot of the CommonWealth Games currently on play in Delhi, India, but there is real sad news from real Tiger world in the country. Bannerghatta National Park of Bangalore is artifficial home to tens of tigers. But recently most of the big cats in the park were infected with unknown bacteria causing Typhoid like disease. Last month, there were reports of four tiger deaths. Out of these four, two claimed by old age, but rest two were untimely and caused by the infection. The infection spread across as many as 16 tigers. Unfortunately despite doctors all efforts, one more four year tiger, Minchu, died on 5th of October bringing more sorrow to the park.

“The four-year-old tiger Minchu died this morning due to kidney failure though it was recovering from the typhoid causing bacteria. It seems to have succumbed to toxic remnants in the kidney,” said zoo assistant director B.C. Chittiappa. Minchu was kept in isolation to prevent its infection from spreading to other 41 tigers, including 15 of them under treatment for the dreaded bacteria in the zoo. The rest of infected tigers are showing recovery, are still kept in strict observation and isolation.

Tiger is not only the national animal of the country India but also it has attracted attention recently for massive campaigns going on to save the species. It is very unfortunate to lose so many lives during such a short span when their total number in the country stands at just above 1000. We wish quick recovery of rest of the rare big cats in the Park.

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Photos of Nature