Rivers: Nature's Lifelines
What colour is a river? Blue, clear, or maybe a muddy brown? Take a look at the Caño Cristales river of Columbia! Many factors such as minerals in the river bed, algae, and aquatic plants can determine a river's colour.

Rivers support a vast variety of life forms. They are also precious natural resources. Rivers supply us with water for drinking, growing our food, generating energy, and manufacturing products. They serve as transport routes. Many millions of people depend on fish from rivers for their food and livelihoods.

So, why don't we take better care of our rivers?
WWF One Planet Academy
The fourth Sunday of September every year is observed as World Rivers Day. On this day, we celebrate the world's rivers, increase awareness of the threats they face, and encourage people to work together to conserve them. Click here to learn more about the history of World Rivers Day. World Rivers Day was observed on September 26 this year with the theme "Waterways in our community". In this edition of Nature Nuggets, let's explore the threats that rivers face and how we can protect rivers for our communities and the future.

DownToEarth
Industrial processes, agriculture, and other human activities have left most of our rivers polluted. Dams built to generate hydroelectric power disturb rivers' natural flow, affecting people, aquatic life forms, and the environment. Nearly 60,000 large dams exist on rivers worldwide. Only about one-third of the world's 246 longest rivers remain free-flowing!
Climate change and global warming have affected the world's rivers too, altering their water quality, temperature, and flow.

All is not lost! We can revive and protect our rivers by working together.

Some countries are removing dams on their rivers. Such rivers have shown a remarkable recovery. Many countries have undertaken river restoration projects. Two such initiatives in India are the Namami Gange Programme launched by the National Mission for Clean Ganga and WWF-India's Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers programme.

Did you know that some countries have passed special laws to give rivers legal protection? In a world-first, New Zealand granted its Whanganui river the same legal rights as those of a human being in 2017. In 2019, Bangladesh did the same for all its rivers. Such legal measures, along with river restoration and pollution prevention, could help safeguard our rivers.

DownToEarth
Common Name: Smooth-coated otter
Scientific Name: Lutrogale perspicillata

Have you ever seen an otter?

Smooth-coated otters are a species of otter found in India and some other parts of Asia. They live near rivers as well as in other habitats such as lakes, wetlands, mangrove forests, and paddy fields.
Watch this video about how smooth-coated otters of Singapore cope with life in the city and its waterways.

Smooth-coated otters are strong swimmers and are well-equipped for the job. An otter has a smooth and sleek body, a flattened tail that acts as a rudder, and large webbed paws that help it to swim. Its ears and nostrils can close to keep water out while it swims. Its fur is velvety and shining and has two layers–a tightly packed under layer that keeps the animal warm, and an outer layer of longer water-repellent hairs.

You would not know this by looking at these cute creatures, but smooth-coated otters are expert predators! They often hunt in groups to catch fish. They also eat shrimp, crabs, insects, frogs, birds, and even rats!

Did you know that otter babies, called cubs or pups, have to learn how to swim? Watch this video of how a giant river otter in the Amazon gives her pup a swimming lesson.

Smooth-coated otters are losing their habitats because of the conversion of wetlands into agricultural fields and settlements, construction of dams, and water pollution. Protecting our rivers is an important step towards ensuring we can enjoy the sight of these beautiful animals for generations to come.

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

DownToEarth
Where can we find different otter species around the world?

a. Only near freshwater bodies such as rivers
b. Only near the sea
c. In both freshwater and marine habitats

Answer to be revealed in our next edition!

Previous edition answer: The correct answer is d.! Crabs have ten legs. The first pair of legs has strong claws that are used to grip prey. The remaining eight legs are used for walking.

Congratulations to everyone who guessed it right!
DownToEarth
Does food in your home often go to waste? When food is wasted, the resources and effort used to grow, transport, package, and cook food are wasted too. We can follow simple steps to reduce this food waste. At home, we should reuse food leftovers before they go bad. An easy way is to season stored leftovers to make them tasty and use them in new dishes, such as in stuffed parathas or sandwiches. Click here for more tips on how you can reduce food waste.

WWF One Planet Academy
We are celebrating the young conservation leaders of WWF India's Ek Prithvi programme. WWF India invites you to join us at the release of the Ek Prithvi Film.

In a panel discussion themed 'When learning is rooted in nature, India grows.', we will be in conversation with WWF India's Education Ambassador, the Chess Grandmaster, Mr Viswanathan Anand along with eminent people from the domains of education, government department and philanthropy.

Block your date- Friday, October 01, 2021 @ Time: 16:00 - 17:00 Hrs

Register here - https://wwf.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_w3vO8lXYTcKkIBn6f-wEGw

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