Pot Pourri

Australia witnesses driest spring season in 120 years
Canberra: Australia has witnessed its driest spring season in 120 years of recorded history, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) revealed on Monday.
In its spring climate wrap-up, the BoM said that majority of Australia received rainfall which was well below average and that a number of recording stations, right across the country, observed their driest spring ever, reports Xinhua news agency.
Spring 2019 was also Australia’s fifth hottest on record with the highest temperature at 47.1 degrees Celsius, recorded in mid-November in Western Australia.
“Rainfall for spring was below very much below average for most of Australia, and overall it was Australia’s driest spring on record,” the report said.
“The prolonged abnormally low rainfall experienced over eastern Australia continues to have significant impact on communities and the environment.”
Record hot and dry conditions hit many rural farming communities particularly hard with water supplies for some falling towards absolute zero and prompting strict regulations on water usage.
Sydney’s water supply dropped below 50 per cent earlier in the year and is on track to drop below 40 per cent early 2020.
The conditions have also made 2019 a particularly bad bushfire season thus far, with wildfires igniting large swathes of bush more ferociously than in years before.
“Extremely dry conditions and very much above average temperatures led to increased fire risk across New South Wales and Queensland during spring,” the report said.
“Several large and dangerous fires have been burning in both states since early September, resulting in loss of both property and lives.” (IANS)

White rhino born in Belgian zoo
Brussels: A rare southern white rhino was born at a zoo in Belgium, boosting efforts to save the endangered species, the park said on Monday.
“An adorable little male was born in the early morning of Monday… Madiba, the mother, and her baby are doing well,” Pairi Daiza zoo said in a statement.
There are roughly 18,000 southern white rhinos in the wild but the subspecies is being exterminated by poachers at a rate of one every eight hours. Another species of rhino, the world’s second-largest land mammal, the northern white, is in even more danger with only two left in existence.
The remaining northern white pair are both female, so they will die out unless their genes can be preserved or recovered and an artificial breeding programme begins. In July, a southern white calf was born through artificial insemination in San Diego, in what the zoo hailed as a step toward perfecting the technique.
The Belgian zoo has another female, Elie, in gestation. Her birth is expected “by the end of this year”. Both are natural pregnancies, the zoo said. Elie has already had a calf, Sethemba, who was born in 2016 and has been transferred to a zoo in the Spanish city of Malaga as part of Europe’s captive breeding programme. (AFP)

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