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Monday, October 18, 2021

Chandigarh: Two more vulture species to be conserved at Pinjore centre, decides Central Zoo Authority

During the two-day meet, it was informed that the population of three Gyps species of vulture, the White-backed, Long-billed and Slender-billed is in the mid-nineties.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 25, 2021 12:25:12 am
Due to the drastic decline in the numbers of three Gyps species; Long-billed, White-rumped and Slender-billed vultures, it was considered important to establish a conservation breeding programme to prevent their possible extinction. (Representative Image)

TWO MORE vulture species — Red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), and the Egyptian vulture (Neophorn pernopterus) — that have been identified by biologists as threatened due to their declining numbers not just in India, but across the world, will be conserved.

The two species were identified for conservation in the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation in India, 2020-2025.

A total of nine centres, including the Pinjore-based Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre (VCBC), named Jatayau, has been selected where these two species will be conserved, bred, and later released into the wild, the Central Zoo Authority has decided, after holding a National Review Meeting on Conservation Breeding of Vulture Species in India at Pinjore, Panchkula.

The two-day meeting, which saw the presence of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), concluded on Thursday.
There are already three vulture species — Long-billed, White-rumped, and Slender-billed — that are being bred, reared at VCBC, Pinjore.

Dr Vibhu Prakash, the principal scientist at VCBC, told The Indian Express, “Red-headed vultures are only found in Asia and South Asia. The Egyptian Vulture is found in Asia, Europe and Africa. There is one sub-species of the Egyptian Vulture, which is called the Neophron Percnopterus Ginginianus. This sub-species is also only found in India. The Central Zoo Authority has decided to start the conservation of these two endangered species now. As Pinjore-situated VCBC is the foremost breeding centre, it was selected for the conservation of these two species. At VCBC, we already have 378 Long-billed, White-rumped, and Slender-billed vultures. The Central Zoo Authority has also said that some of the vultures from here may be shifted to other conservation centres.”

Jagdish Chander, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden, Haryana, Debender Dalai, Chief
Wildlife Warden, Chandigarh, Dr. Sonali Ghosh, DIGF-CZA, Dr Bivash Pandav Director, BNHS, were presented during the two days long workshop, during which a book — ‘Manual for Vulture Keepers’ — developed by VCBC, Pinjore, was released.

During the two-day meet, it was informed that the population of three Gyps species of vulture, the White-backed, Long-billed and Slender-billed is in the mid-nineties.

The cause was narrowed down to toxicity (leading to visceral gout) caused by the use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Diclofenac, in large animal veterinary care centres. The affected vultures generally consumed a dead animal which had been administered Diclofenac less than 72 hours before its death.

Due to the drastic decline in the numbers of three Gyps species; Long-billed, White-rumped and Slender-billed vultures, it was considered important to establish a conservation breeding programme to prevent their possible extinction. The Central Zoo Authority initiated this programme in 2006 following the release of an action plan for vulture conservation the same year.

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