News: Flocks of prized Pashmina goats hit as the LAC conflict has cut off crucial feeding grounds
The Chinese Army’s intrusion in Chumur and Demchok since January has left Ladakh’s nomadic herding Changpa community cut off from large parts of summer pastures.
- The People’s Liberation Army has taken over 16 kanals (two acres) of cultivable land in Chumur and advanced around 15 km inside Demchok, taking over traditional grazing pastures and cultivable lowlands.
- In a cascading effect, this has resulted in a sharp rise in deaths of young Pashmina goats this year in the Korzok-Chumur belt of Changthang plateau in Ladakh.
CHANGPA TRIBE :
- The Changpa are a semi-nomadic Tibetan people found mainly in the Changtang in Ladakh and in Jammu and Kashmir.
- A smaller number resides in the western regions of the Tibet Autonomous Region and were partially relocated for the establishment of the Changtang Nature Reserve.
- As of 1989 there were half a million nomads living in the Changtang area.
- The Changpa of are high altitude pastoralists, raising mainly yaks and goats.
- Among the Ladakh Changpa, those who are still nomadic are known as Phalpa, and they take their herds from in the Hanley Valley to the village of Lato.
- Hanley is home to six isolated settlements, where the sedentary Changpa, the Fangpa reside.
- Despite their different lifestyles, both these groups intermarry.
- The Changpa speak Changskhat, a dialect of Tibetan, and practice Tibetan Buddhism.
- The Changpas rear the highly pedigreed and prized Changra goats (Capra Hircus) that yield the rare Pashmina fibre (Cashmere wool).
- The Cashmere goats (Changra goats) are not raised for their meat but for their fibre (pashm).
- The pashmina fibre (Pashm in Persian) is the finest fibre of all goat hair.
What is Blazar emission ?
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have conducted the first systematic study on the gamma-ray flux variability nature on different types of blazars.
- At the center of most galaxies, there’s a massive black hole that can have mass of millions or even billions of Suns that accrete gas, dust, and stellar debris around it.
- As these material falls towards the black hole, their gravitational energy gets converted to light forming active galactic nuclei (AGN).
- A minority of AGN (~15%) emit collimated charged particles called jets travelling at speeds close to the speed of light.
What are BLAZARS ?
- Blazars are AGN whose jets are aligned with the observer’s line of sight.
- Some blazars are thought to host binary black holes in them and could be potential targets for future gravitational-wave searches.
- Their study could provide clues to the processes happening close to the black hole, not visible through direct imaging.
Research Findings :
- The results of this work will thus fill the gap on the knowledge of the high energy flux variability nature of blazars.
- Blazars are the most luminous and energetic objects in the known universe were found to be emitters of gamma-rays in the 1990s.
- It is only with the capability of Fermi Gamma-ray space telescope (launched in 2008) to scan the entire sky once in three hours.
Challenges to ASTROPHYSICS:
- One of the open problems in high energy astrophysics is to localize the site for the production of gamma-rays.
- Gamma-ray band is one of the bands of the electromagnetic spectrum on which there is limited knowledge on the flux variability of blazars.
- With the availability of near-simultaneous data covering the gamma-ray, X-ray, ultra-violet, optical, and infrared bands, the existing notion on high energy emission in blazars is challenged.
- This band needs to be explored as this is the energy range where the high energy emission from blazars peaks.
- Exploring this band of the electromagnetic spectrum will provide key inputs to constrain the high energy production site as well as the high energy emission processes.
- The expertise of handling high energy data from celestial sources gained in this work will build capacity to interpret the gamma-ray data that will emerge from India’s upcoming facility, the Major Atmospheric Cerenkov Experiment Telescope as well as from any X-ray missions by India in the future.
- Major Atmospheric Cerenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) is an Imaging Atmospheric Cerenkov telescope (IACT) located at Hanle, Ladakh, India.