Articles in ‘Nepal nature’
350 new species have been found in the Eastern Himalayas in the last 10 years according to a new report (Where Worlds Collide) by WWF, highlighting the need to protect further this still huge but ever shrinking wilderness. New species are being discovered at a rate of 35 a year including the miniature muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis), also known as the leaf deer, the smallest species of deer in the world, and the Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala above photo by Anindya Sinha) – the first monkey to be found since 1903. Threats to the Eastern Himalayas, divided between Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China, India, Bangladesh and Burma, include illegal logging, demand for land, poaching, pollution and climate change.
Mark Wright of the WWF notes:
“In the Eastern Himalayas we have a region of extraordinary beauty and with some of the most biologically rich areas on the planet. Ironically, it is also one of the regions most at risk from climate change, as evidenced by the rapid retreat of the glaciers, and only time will tell how well species will be able to adapt – if at all.”
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- Everest has several other names: Sagarmatha (Nepali), Chomolungma or Qomolangma (Tibetan) or Zhumulangma (Chinese)
- In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society. The mountain was named after George Everest. He thought a Tibetan or Nepalese name would have been more appropriate.
- In 1852, Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor, was the first to identify Everest as the world’s highest peak.
- The first attempt to climb Everest was in 1922 by the British Mount Everest Expedition
- As of the end of the 2008 climbing season, there had been 4,102 ascents to the summit by about 2,700 individuals in the history of the mountain.
- As of the end of the 2008 climbing season, Everest has claimed 210 lives, including eight who perished during a 1996 storm high on the mountain. Because of the severe conditions on the mountain, most corpses have been left where they fell.
- Climbing Everest is a significant source of revenue for Nepal, whose government also requires all prospective climbers to obtain an expensive permit, costing up to US$25,000 per person
- A tiny black jumping spider, (Euophrys omnisuperstes) has been found at elevations as high as 6,700 metres (22,000 ft), possibly making it the highest confirmed non-microscopic permanent resident on Earth. These spiders live in crevices and probably feed on frozen insects that have been blown there by the wind.
- Birds on Everest are few. Bar-headed geese fly at the higher altitudes of the mountain as they migrate (see How do they survive in such conditions?) while others such as the chough have been spotted as high as the South Col (7,920 m) scavenging on food, or even the corpses of mountaineers from climbing expeditions.
- Everest is growing by about 4 millimeters a year. It became the highest mountain in the world some 200,000 years ago.
- A white plume of clouds is often seen blowing off the top of Everest. It is the jet stream, a wind current reaching speeds up to 250 mph.
- The Everest View Hotel is at 12,779 feet the highest hotel in the world. Each room affords a panoramic view of Everest, weather permitting. Guests are flown to an airstrip and are then transported by yak to the hotel. The sudden high altitude is a shock to the unacclimatised guests, and so the hotel pumps a constant fresh supply of oxygen into each room.