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Climate change has brought new animals and malaria to the foothills of the Himalayas

Climate change has brought new animals and malaria to the foothills of the Himalayas

“We simply knew that back then. Now there are mosquitoes and flies, even at this altitude. Last June, I saw a swarm of locusts in the village for the first time.”

Hundreds of years ago, life in the village itself changed rapidly in Leyte, which is located 3,100 meters above sea level. Changing weather patterns and rising temperatures across the Himalayas mean that more and more species of quadrupeds, birds and insects are appearing in higher mountain ranges than ever before.

Some are moving to a new, warmer climate, others are seeking shelter from climate change.

A cloudy tiger at an altitude of 3,500 meters

A number of recent studies have shown that a number of Nepali native species migrate to higher areas. The cameras intercepted a solitary cloudy tiger, previously never seen at an altitude of more than 2,300 meters, at an altitude of 3,500 meters in Langtang National Park on the border with China.

Levhart oblákový (Neophilis Nebulosa).

Photo: Profimedia.cz

A study published last year by the Indian Zoological Research Agency (ZSI) found that in the Himalayas, 50 species of butterflies and moths have moved up to 1,000 meters in height, in search of a new home in the highlands. A handful of butterfly species even took refuge up to nearly two kilometers in the mountains.

The Times reports that butterflies are very sensitive to changes in temperature, a great indicator of long-term climate change in the region – also due to the fact that ZSI has been observing many species since the mid-1800s.

Loss of glaciers causes water shortages

They noted in Litt that the impact of climate change on alpine communities is everything, but it is not an easy matter. Residents of Nepalese villages, who have sought refuge in the lowlands for generations during the biting winter months, can live in higher places all year round.

“Snow is essential for life in the Himalayas, but nothing new has happened this year. No snow means no grass growing in the pastures. Winter temperatures have dropped to minus 25 degrees Celsius and now hover around ten degrees. Rainfall is unpredictable. “It is getting worse year after year,” Baregar added.

The disease brought warm air with mosquitoes

Mountain villages are also exposed for the first time in their history to new diseases caused by warm air along with mosquitoes. Villages in the Mustang region are now facing steady increases in cases of malaria and dengue fever – in an area where the disease had not previously been reported.

A 2016 report found that malaria had occurred in nearly 10,000 cases since 1988 in altitude areas as it was not the only case it had previously contracted.

Animal rights activist Jadav Geimirig, who studies bird movements to higher ground in Mustang, says evidence of the potentially devastating impact of climate change on the Himalayas is mounting. However, in addition to science, local legends also confirm claims that the area is on the verge of collapse.

Declining numbers of Himalayan wolves, once dominant predators in the mountains, have given way to jackal populations. Despite fear, the wolf has been respected and even likened to majesty and royal authority in Nepal for centuries. According to legend, the Nepalese king had to abdicate when the wolves were reduced during his reign. On the contrary, the Nepalese despise the jackals, and in the mountains they regard them as invaders from the hot southern regions, or even heralds of devastation.

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“We have discovered jackals at heights of 4,500 meters. In the Humla region, it is said that if the jackals reach the sacred lake of Manasarovar, which is at an altitude of 4,590 meters, then the end of the world, the end of the world, will come.”