At the Point where the Land meets the Sky. ©

Is it a bird?

 

The Campsite

 

A Steep Fall

 

But even the steepest slopes aren't impossible to climb..

 

Have you ever stood higher than the clouds?

 

the point the lands meet the skies..

 

Down on the pebble-y ground.

 

And the water shines in the colors gifted by the sky..

 

Athenaphrodite. ©
All Rights Reserved.

Twisting and Turning, Forming Beauty Beyond Words.. ©

The Gradient Sky.

 

Evergreen.

 

The Sky Peeks.

 

..And the Sillhouettes Form.

 

Rainbowwww 🙂

 

Leaves Painted Shades of Red.

 

Shapes.

 

Athenaphrodite. ©
All Rights Reserved.

Sunset at the NorthPole Captured. ©


A scene you will probably never get to see, so take a moment and
enjoy God at work at the North Pole.


This  is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest
point.


And,  you also see the sun below the moon.
An  amazing photo and not one easily duplicated. You may want to pass
it on to  others.

The Chinese have a saying that goes something like  this:
“When someone shares with you something of value,  you have an
obligation to share it with others!”

Sunset At The North Pole


Play Your Part In Saving The Indian Snow Leopard!!

 

These rare, beautiful gray leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters). They use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill.

Snow leopards prey upon the blue sheep (bharal) of Tibet and the Himalaya, as well as the mountain ibex found over most of the rest of their range. Though these powerful predators can kill animals three times their weight, they also eat smaller fare, such as marmots, hares, and game birds.

As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders.

These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

FAST FACTS

Height: About 2 feet (.6m) at shoulders.
Length: 6-7.5 feet (1.8-2.3m) (includes 40-inch (1m) tail length).
Weight: 77-120 lbs (35-55 kg).
Female snow leopards are about 30% smaller than males.
Lifespan: Their reclusive nature makes it hard to determine snow leopard lifespan in the wild. They have, however, been known to live for as long as 21 years in captivity.

Distribution  The strikingly beautiful snow leopard remains one of the most mysterious cats in the world. This roving, high altitude cat is rarely sighted by local people. Because it is so elusive, accurate population numbers are hard to come by, although estimates range from 100 to 200 individuals. Snow leopards live in the mountain regions of central Asia. In India their geographical cover encompasses a large part of the Western Himalaya including the states of Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Uttarakhand with a sizable population in Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh in Eastern Himalaya in addition to Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China.

Diet

Snow leopards primarily hunt wild sheep and goats. Snow leopards are also known to eat smaller animals like rodents, hares and game birds.

Population

Very rare in most of their range, an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild, with 600-700 in zoos around the world. Exact numbers in the wild have not been determined due to the snow leopard’s shy nature.

Habitat 
Snow Leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines. This type of habitat provides good cover and clear view to help them sneak up on their prey. They are found at high elevations of 3000-4500 meters (9800 ft to 14800 ft.), and even higher in the Himalayas. The snowy peaks act as a camouflage for the animal.

Characteristics
Snow Leopards are considered medium-sized cats, standing about 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing around 30-55kg. Their exquisite smoky-gray fur patterned with dark-gray to black rosettes, camouflage them against rocky slopes. Snow Leopards are shy and elusive and inhabit a definite home range. The species usually mate between January and March, a time when both sexes mark intensively, leaving signs such as scrapes,
feces, urine and scent-spray in prominent locations along their travel routes. The animal is most active at dawn and dusk. Like most species of cats, Snow Leopards are solitary animals, though sometimes male and female pairs might be seen together during mating season.

Reproduction
Mating Season:
 Between January and mid-March.
Gestation: period 3-3 ½ months.
Litter size: 2-3 cubs.
Females give birth in rocky dens lined with their fur. The young follow their mother on hunts at three months and remain with her through their first winter.

Conservation Challenges: 

Poaching 


What comes as a major challenge for the protection of this species, is poaching. Snow Leopards are poached illegally for their pelts, which have a huge market in Tibet. Their bones and other body parts are also in huge demand for use in traditional Asian medicines .

Retribution Killings
Due to continuous interference and intrusions by humans and domestic cattle, snow leopards at times stray from their habitat to enter the human territory to prey on domestic livestock. Herders in these areas live a precarious economic life and loss of even a single sheep, causes a real economic hardship. This has caused several cases of retaliatory killing of Snow Leopards in the past .

Habitat and Prey loss
As humans continue to push further into the mountainous areas with their livestock, the Snow Leopards’ habitat is getting boxed-in by increasing human intrusion. As humans push further into the mountainous areas with their livestock, the snow leopard’s habitat is getting degraded and fragmented. Overgrazing has damaged the fragile grasslands, leaving less food for the wild sheep and goats that are the Snow Leopard’s main prey.

Global Warming and Other Threats

Snow leopards are facing a distinct threat from global warming. Their typical habitat range is between where the tree line stops and the snow line begins on the mountains. As global warming warms the earth, snow lines are receding, which means that snow leopards must move further up the mountain slopes as well. As snow leopards get to higher elevations, the vegetation becomes more scarce, which means that the herbivores that they prey on are in limited supply as well, and the leopards are having trouble finding enough food.

Due to the high demand for their coats, snow leopards are also illegally hunted for the fur trade. The pelts are a sought-after commodity in places like Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where they are turned into coats and other garments. Snow leopard bones and body parts are also used for traditional Asian medicine. As humans expand their farm and grazing areas for livestock herds they are encroaching more into the snow leopards territories resulting in increased conflict with humans when snow leopards attack livestock during times when their natural prey is scarce.

Much of the Snow Leopards’ habitat is extremely difficult to access. Found at very high altitude, studying the species and its current status and distribution is an extremely arduous task.

Status: The Snow Leopard is listed as endangered on the IUCN-World Conservation Union’s Red List of the Threatened Species. In addition, the Snow Leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. It is also protected by several national laws in its range country.

WWF’s involvement

Snow leopard is less studied than any other large felid such as tiger, lion and leopard in India. Its currently occupied range is poorly mapped based on the snow leopard’s high and inhospitable terrain. In India snow leopard presence is reported from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. In India studies had been conducted in some of the protected areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh but rest of the states such as Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunchal Pradesh and the unprotected areas of snow leopard distribution range had been still unexplored. Keeping this in view WWF-India initiated this project, “snow leopard conservation: An initiative”, in the states of Uttarakhand (UK) and some of the areas of Himachal Pradesh (HP) which never been explored for snow leopard on a landscape level. Here, we are gathering base-line information such as status and distribution of snow leopard, snow leopard-human conflicts and the biotic pressure on the snow leopard habitats. Hopefully, we will be coming soon with the consolidated list of the promising areas for long-term snow leopard conservation in UK and HP.

Although the Snow Leopard is internationally regarded and legally protected as an endangered species, currently there exist no effective measures to stop poaching and loss of habitat in Jammu & Kashmir. The Snow Leopard population of Jammu & Kashmir has increasingly come under pressure as a result of poaching for furs, loss of habitat caused by deforestation and dam projects, and loss of food sources caused by similar environmental pressures. In both Pakistan and India-administered Jammu & Kashmir, this threat to the Snow Leopard has developed.

The armed conflict of the last 8 years in Jammu & Kashmir has further exacerbated this problem as the soldiers and armed resistance groups have shown little regard for species preservation. The instability has also allowed for an illegal trade of furs. A 1994 raid on a group of traders in Srinagar that hauled more than $1 million worth of furs and  garments made from 1,366 of the world’s most endangered wild cats, tigers, snow and clouded leopards and Bengal tigers indicated that the lack of effective measures to preserve endangered species has deteriorated further as a result of the 8 year old conflict. Cases like these reveal that the poaching of wildlife in Jammu & Kashmir’s forests and in other Himalayan regions has returned with a vengeance that threatens some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic animals after a period of curtailment of such poaching in recent decades. Under this situation, the Snow Leopard is directly threatened.

Reasons For Hope

The snow leopard was placed on the endangered species list in 1972 to help protect its dwindling numbers. Similar to Defenders work with predator species in the United States, conservation groups near snow leopard habitats are working with local farmers and herders to help foster a better understanding of how to co-exist with these animals and minimize conflicts between them.

The farmers are taught how to secure their barns and livestock holding areas against snow leopards and reimbursement programs have been set up to give the farmer fair market value for animals they have lost in return for allowing the snow leopards to live.

Legal Status/Protection

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA): the snow leopard is listed as endangered.
  • IUCN Red List: Endangered. Snow leopards are suspected to have declined by at least 20% over the past two generations (16 years) due to habitat and prey base loss, and poaching and persecution.
  • CITES: The snow leopard is listed in Appendix I.

 DID YOU KNOW?

  • One Indian snow leopard, protected and observed in a national park, is reported to have consumed five blue sheep, nine Tibetan woolly hares, twenty-five marmots, five domestic goats, one domestic sheep, and fifteen birds in a single year
  • Snow leopards have very large paws that act as snowshoes and keep them from sinking into the snow.
  • Their paws are also completely fur-covered, protecting them from the cold.
  • Snow leopards prefer to inhabit steep cliff areas, rocky outcrops and ravines. Such habitats provide them with the camouflage they need to ambush unsuspecting prey. They stalk their prey and usually spring from a distance of 20-50 feet. Their long and powerful hind limbs help the snow leopard leap up to 30 feet, which is 6 times its body length. Mostly active at dawn and dusk, snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild. Unlike other big cats, snow leopards are unable to roar. Solitary in nature, they pair only during the breeding season.
It’s time to play your part in saving these beautiful animals guys!
Boycott and refrain from buying products made out of their fur.
Help in any way you can before the only place we will be able to visit and see these endangered species will be in history textbooks.
Thankyou 🙂 !

India’s Second National Waterway – The Brahmaputra.


From its headsprings in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China (as the Yarlung River), it flows across southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges.  Here the river is known as the Dihang. It flows southwest through the Assam Valley and south through Bangladesh (where it is known as the Jamuna) . After receiving the Dibang and Luhit, the Brahmaputra veers southwest-ward and begins a long, sluggish course to the sea through a region rich in rice, sugarcane, and jute.. There it merges with the Ganges (Ganga) to form a vast delta. About 1,800 mi (2,900 km) long, the river is an important source for irrigation and transportation. Its upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Zangbo was established by exploration in 1884–86.  In western Assam the river turns southward into Bangladesh and splits into two branches, chief of which is the Jamuna. Near Dhaka, the Brahmaputra joins the Ganges and Meghna rivers, and their combined waters flow to the Bay of Bengal. The lower Brahmaputra is navigable for more than 800 miles (1,300 km) and is a major means of transport. The river brahmaputra is one of the major river in the world. The total length it travels from Himalayans to the Bay is 2900 Km.

COURSE OF THE RIVER

The Yarlung Tsangpo River, source of the Brahmaputra, originates in the Jima Yangzong glacier near Mount Kailash in the northern Himalayas. It then flows east for about 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi), at an average height of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), and is thus the highest of the major rivers in the world. In Tibet, the Tsangpo follows the suture line between the Eurasian Plate and the Indian Plate. At its easternmost point, it bends around Mount Namcha Barwa and forms the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, which is regarded by some as the deepest in the world.

Assam and adjoining region

The Brahmaputra enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang. It makes a very rapid descent from its original height in Tibet, and finally appears in the plains, where it is called Dihang. It flows for about 35 kilometres (22 mi) and is joined by the Dibang River and the Lohit River at the head of the Assam Valley. Below the Lohit the river is called Brahmaputra, enters the state of Assam and becomes very wide—as wide as 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in parts of Assam. It is joined in Sonitpur by the Kameng River (or Jia Bhoreli).

Between Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur districts the river divides into two channels—the northern Kherkutia channel and the southern Brahmaputra channel. The two channels join again about 100 kilometres (62 mi) downstream forming the Majuli island, the largest river island in India. At Guwahati, near the ancient pilgrimage center of Hajo, the Brahmaputra cuts through the rocks of the Shillong Plateau, and is at its narrowest at 1 kilometre (1,100 yd) bank-to-bank.

Bangladesh

 In Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra is joined by the Teesta River (or Tista), one of its largest tributaries. Below the Teesta, the Brahmaputra splits into twodistributary branches. The western branch, which contains the majority of the river’s flow, continues due south as the Jamuna (Jomuna) to merge with the lower Ganges, called the Padma River (Pôdda). The eastern branch, formerly the larger but now much smaller, is called the lower or old Brahmaputra (Bromhoputro). It curves southeast to join the Meghna River near Dhaka. The Padma and Meghna converge near Chandpur and flow out into the Bay of Bengal. This final part of the river is called Meghna.

In the past the course of the lower Brahmaputra was different and passed through the Jamalpur and Mymensingh districts. About 250 years ago a major earthquake led to its present flow. The Ganges Delta, fed by the waters of numerous rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra, is 59,570 square kilometres (23,000 sq mi) large, one of the largest river deltas in the world.

BRAHMAPUTRA IN INDIAN MYTHOLOGY.


Brahmaputra means the son of the Hindu Lord ‘Brahma’.
There are many mythological stories on Brahmaputra. But the most popular and sacred one is about the river’s birth in ‘Kalika Purana’. It describes how Parashurama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, got rid of his sin of murdering his own mother with an axe (or Parashu) by taking bath in this sacred river. On strict order from his father Yamadagni (who had suspected his wife Renuka of adultery), Parashuram had to murder his own mother by severing her head with an axe. As a result of this nefarious act, the axe got stuck to his hand and he was unable to take it off his hand. On advice from sages, he started on a pilgrimage and ultimately reached the place, which is presently known as Parashuram Kunda (about 25 km north of Tezu in Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh). The story says that the mighty river was then confined to a Kund (or Kunda) or a small lake surrounded by hills. Parashuram cut down the hills on one side to release the sacred water for the benefit of the common people. By this act, Parashuram’s axe came out of his hand to his great relief and he knew that he had been exonerated from his sin.

HYDROLOGY.

The course of the Brahmaputra has changed continually over time. The most spectacular of these changes was the eastward diversion of the Tista River and the ensuing development of the new channel of the Jamuna, which occurred in 1787 with an exceptionally high flood in the Tista. The waters of the Tista suddenly were diverted eastward into an old abandoned course, causing the river to join the Brahmaputra opposite Bahadurabad Ghat in Mymensingh district. Until the late 18th century the Brahmaputra flowed past the town of Mymensingh and joined the Meghna River near Bhairab Bazar (the path of the present-day Old Brahmaputra channel). At that time a minor stream called the Konai-Jenai—probably a spill channel of the Old Brahmaputra—followed the course of today’s Jamuna River (now the main Brahmaputra channel). After the Tista flood of 1787 reinforced it, the Brahmaputra began to cut a new channel along the Konai-Jenai and gradually converted it after 1810 into the main stream, now known as the Jamuna.

 CLIMATE.

The climate of the Brahmaputra valley varies from the harsh, cold, and dry conditions found in Tibet to the generally hot and humid conditions prevailing in Assam state and in Bangladesh. Tibetan winters are severely cold, with average temperatures below 32 °F (0 °C), while summers are mild and sunny. The river valley lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, and precipitation there is relatively light: Lhasa receives about 16 inches (400 mm) annually.

The Indian and Bangladeshi parts of the valley are governed by the monsoon (wet, dry) climate, though it is somewhat modified there compared with other parts of the subcontinent; the hot season is shorter than usual, and the average annual temperature ranges from 79 °F (26 °C) in Dhuburi, India, to 85 °F (29 °C) in Dhaka. Precipitation is relatively heavy, and humidity is high throughout the year. The annual rainfall of between 70 and 150 inches (1,780 and 3,810 mm) falls mostly between June and early October; however, light rains also fall from March to May.

PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE.

Along the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) on the high Plateau of Tibet, the vegetation is mainly drought-resistant shrubs and grasses. As the river descends from Tibet, increased precipitation supports the growth of forests. Forests of sal, a valuable timber tree that yields resin, are found in Assam. At even lower elevations, tall reed jungles grow in the swamps and depressed water-filled areas (jheels) of the immense floodplains. Around towns and villages in the Assam Valley, the many fruit trees yield plantains, papayas, mangoes, and jackfruit. Bamboo thickets abound throughout Assam and Bangladesh.

The most notable animal of the swamps in Assam is the one-horned , which has become extinct in other parts of the world; (designated a UNESCO in 1985) provides a refuge for the rhinoceros and for other wildlife in the valley, including elephants, tigers, leopards, wild buffalo, and deer. Numerous varieties of fish include the pabda (Omdok pabda), chital, and mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus).

People

The people living in the different sections of the Brahmaputra valley are of diverse origin and culture. North of the Great Himalayas, theTibetans practice Buddhism and speak the Tibetan language. They engage in animal husbandry and cultivate the valley with irrigation water taken from the river.

The ancestry of the Assamese includes both Tibeto-Burman peoples from the surrounding highlands and peoples from the lowlands of India to the south and west. The Assamese language is akin to Bengali, which is spoken in West Bengal state in India and in Bangladesh. Since the late 19th century a vast number of immigrants from the Bengal Plain of Bangladesh have entered Assam, where they have settled to cultivate vacant lands, particularly the low floodplains. In the Bengal Plain itself the river flows through an area that is densely populated by the Bengali people, who cultivate the fertile valley. The hilly margins of the plain are inhabited by the tribal Garo and Hajong of state in India.

Economy

Irrigation and flood control

Flood-control schemes and the building of embankments were initiated after 1954. In Bangladesh the Brahmaputra embankment running west of the Jamuna River from north to south helps to control floods. The Tista Barrage Project is both an irrigation and a flood-protection scheme.

Little power has been harnessed along the Brahmaputra, although the estimated potential is great—some 12,000 megawatts in India alone. Some hydroelectric stations have been completed in Assam, most notably the Kopili Hydel Project, and others are under construction. In the late 1990s a series of major dams were proposed for the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, including the Subansiri, in Arunachal Pradesh.

Navigation and transport

Near Lhazê (Lhatse Dzong) in Tibet, the river becomes navigable for about 400 miles (640 km). Coracles (boats made of hides and bamboo) and large ferries ply its waters at 13,000 feet (4,000 metres) above sea level. The Tsangpo is spanned in several places by suspension bridges.

Because it flows through a region of heavy rainfall in Assam and Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra is more important for inland navigation than for irrigation. The river has long formed a waterway between the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam, although, on occasion, political conflicts have disrupted the movement of traffic through Bangladesh. The Brahmaputra is navigable throughout the Bengal Plain and Assam upstream to , 700 miles (1,100 km) from the sea. In addition to all types of local craft, powered launches and steamers easily travel up and down the river, carrying bulky, timber, etc.

                      

CapturedintheMoment. ©

Ever so often, you come across the most mesmerizing sights, and what an injustice it would be to let them pass you by without you being able to capture them and share them with others who weren’t fortunate enough to visible witness them themselves?

The City Of Bangkok 🙂

The National Bird Of India – A Majestic Peacock

Rainbowww! this was the result of a jet-boat in a stream and the sun, forming some strange angles 😛

A VERY, VERY steep fall. i rock-climbed down this one..

The Seashore of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

A drive past one of Jim Corbett’s reserve parks 🙂

Water droplets captured as they crashed against the rocks :O

Natures own color blocking – PurpleGreen.

Athenaphrodite. ©
All Rights Reserved.

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