New cat snake species found; named after Uddhav Thackeray’s son
A new species of cat snake called Thackeray’s Cat Snake (Boiga thackerayi), named after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son, Tejas, a wildlife researcher, has been discovered in the Western Ghats after 125 years. Cat snakes or cat-eyed snakes are identified by the genus Boiga and are named after their vertical pupils, similar to cats.
The discovery is the first since 1894, when a species from the genus was found in the Western Ghats. The findings were published in the Journal of Bombay Natural History Society on Thursday.
Currently spotted only at a few localities around the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and near Koyna in Satara district, the snake has been named after Tejas Thackeray for his contribution towards various research studies and discoveries of freshwater crabs across India. “Snakes belonging to this genus are widely distributed, but a few species are endemic to the northern Western Ghats, which indicates the importance of protecting this area from developmental threats,” said Varad Giri, lead author of the study who worked with taxonomists and naturalists from India, London and Germany for this study. “The snake was named after Tejas Thackeray as he was the first one to identify the species and collated crucial information before approaching us. The study also puts emphasis on the critically endangered field of taxonomy, which is being ignored.”
Growing up to a maximum length of three-foot, Thackeray’s Cat Snake is a non-venomous, nocturnal and arboreal species (living in trees and active mostly during night). Its habitat includes rain-fed streams across tropical forests. With tiger-like stripes on its body, the species has a light yellow texture, dotted with black marks from its head to the mid-section. The texture turns pink towards the latter half of its form.
The species feeds on eggs of Humayun’s Night Frog, apart from tree frogs. “This is a unique feature never before reported in snake species from Western Ghats,” said Giri.
Even though Mohali district rose by two spots from last year's ranking in the PSEB Class 10 exams, its pass percentage dropped from 99.91% to 99%. Last year, Mohali was placed 17th among the 23 districts. This year, it improved its standing to 15th, with Gurdaspur district bagging the top spot. As many as 9,401 students from 109 Mohali schools appeared in the exams and 9,307 passed.
A 32-year-old doctor allegedly ended his life by injecting himself with a paralytic drug used in anaesthesia at his rented accommodation in Phase 2 on Monday night. The doctor, who hailed from Rupnagar, was living alone in the rented house for the last three months and worked at a private hospital in Sector 34, Chandigarh. The autopsy will be conducted at the Phase-6 civil hospital on Wednesday.
A local court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of Kalyani Singh, an accused in the murder of national-level shooter and lawyer Sukhmanpreet Singh, alias Sippy Sidhu. Lodged in Model Jail, Sector 51, since June 21, Kalyani, 36, was produced in court via video conferencing. On Monday, she had applied for bail before a local court. Her plea will be taken up for hearing on July 8.
The UT administration's decision to appoint 33 medical officers (MOs) on deputation from Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, and none from Haryana has not gone down well with the Haryana government. Highlighting its displeasure through a letter, the Haryana government has urged the UT administration to maintain the 60:40 ratio between Punjab and Haryana while filling up the vacant posts of MOs and dental surgeons. Till then, Haryana had not sent any panel of doctors.
In a major decision, the Panjab University senate on Tuesday approved the proposed fee hike in its teaching departments, regional centres and affiliated colleges for the 2022-23 session. A 5% increase in fee will be implemented for students of the ongoing batches. The fee hike, however, was met with opposition by some senators. The fee hikes over the past years have never gone down well with students.