Science Express Biodiversity Special is an innovative and unique mobile exhibition mounted on a specially designed 16 coach AC train, traveling across India from 5 June - 22 December 2012. The current decade (2011-2020) has been declared as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. The exhibition aboard the train is based on the theme Biodiversity. It is a collaborative initiative of Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India. The exhibition aims to showcase the wide array of biodiversity in the country and the conservation measures adopted thereof.
The Science Express – Biodiversity Special exhibition was inaugurated at Delhi Safdarjung station on 5 June 2012, World Environment Day. Sheila Dikshit, Honorable Chief Minister of Delhi was the Chief Guest of the ceremony. The function was hosted by Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Honorable Minister of State (I/C) for Environment & Forests. Inaugurated at 9:00 am. Smt. Sheila Dikshit and Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan flagged off the train at 10:00 am after which the exhibition was open for visitors.
The event was graced by Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India; Dr. T. Chatterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests; Mr. D. N. Rajasekhar, General Manager, Northern Railways and Dr. M. F. Farooqui, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Dept of Science and Technology(DST) Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF) Indian Railways National Council for Science and Technology Communication(NCSTC) Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre(VASCSC) HSBC Centre for Environment Education(CEE) Indus Towers Nestle
Bombay Natural History Society Center for Ecological Sciences G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management National Museum for Natural History Wildlife Institute of India Wildlife Trust of India
India can be divided into 6 physiographic regions:- Mountains:- India has 8 major mountain regions:- Himalaya Karakoram Patkai or Purvanchal Vindhya Satpura Aravali Western Ghats Eastern Ghats
Indo gangetic plain:- Extend from Jammu Kashmir to Assam. Has 3 major rivers Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra. World’s most extensive expanse of alluvium. Covers an area of 700 000 sq km. Four major divisions are Bhabar, Terai, Bangar and Khadar.
Thar Desert:- World’s 7th largest desert. Situated in Rajasthan, continuing into Pakistan. Covers an area of about 238 700 sq km. 10% comprises of sand dunes, 90% consist of craggy rock forms, compacted salt-lake bottoms and interdunal and fixed dune areas.
Highlands:- The Central Highlands consists of 3 main plateaus. The Malwa plateau spreads across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The Deccan plateau lies in the south covering an area of 1.9 million sq km. The Chhotanagpur plateau spreads across most of Jharkhand, and parts of Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
Coasts:- The Eastern Coastal Plain stretches from Tamil Nadu to West Bengal. Width varies from 100 to 130 km. Divided into 6 regions viz the Mahanadi delta, the southern Andhra Pradesh plain, the Krishna-Godavari deltas, the Kanyakumari coast, the Coromandel Coast, and sandy coastal.
The Western Coastal plain extends from Gujarat through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Ranges from 50 to 100km in width. Divided into 2 major parts viz Konkan and Malabar Coast.
Islands:- Two major islands are Andaman and Nicobar islands, and Lakshadweep islands. The Lakshadweep islands lies 200 to 300 km off the coast of Kerala in the Arabian Sea. Has an area of about 32 sq km.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands are located 1,255 km from Kolkata and 193 km from Cape Negrais in Burma. The Andaman Islands consists of 204 small islands across a total length of 352 km.
International Union for Conservation of Energy(IUCN)’slist of endangered animals include:- Mountain Gorilla:- One of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. Found in Central Africa. As of Spring 2012, the estimated total worldwide is 790.
Ethiopian Wolf:- Canid native to Africa. Found at altitudes above 3000m in the Afro-alpine regions of Ethiopia. Fewer than 500 remain today. Blue Whale:- Largest known animal. Around 30m in length and 180 metric tones in weight. Only about 5000 to 12000 blue whales worldwide as per a 2002 report.
Asiatic Lion:- One of 5 major big cats in India. In 2012,Gujarat govt reported 411 Asiatic lions in Gir forest. Giant Panda:- Native to Central Western and South Western China. A 2007 report shows 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country.
Asian Elephant:- Largest living land animals. Distributed in South East Asia from India Borneo. In 2003,the wild population was between 41410 to 52345. Tiger:- Largest cat species, around 3.3m long and weigh up to 306kg. Global wild population estimate is between 3062 to 3948.