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Biodiversity & Environment

Conservation of Vultures

  • 03 Jul 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, 150 vultures were seen in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), Bihar, which has prompted a vulture conservation plan in the protected region of VTR.

Key Points

  • About Vultures:
    • It is one of the 22 species of large carrion-eating birds that live predominantly in the tropics and subtropics.
    • They act an important function as nature’s garbage collectors and help to keep the environment clean of waste.
      • Vultures also play a valuable role in keeping wildlife diseases in check.
    • India is home to 9 species of Vulture namely the Oriental white-backed, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Himalayan, Red-headed, Egyptian, Bearded, Cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon.
      • Most of these 9 species face danger of extinction.
      • Bearded, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Oriental white-backed are protected in the Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Rest are protected under ‘Schedule IV’.
  • IUCN status:

  • Threats:
    • Poisoning from diclofenac that is used as a medicine for livestock.
    • Loss of Natural Habitats due to anthropogenic activities.
    • Food Dearth and Contaminated Food.
    • Electrocution by Power lines.
  • Conservation Efforts:
    • Recently, the Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched a Vulture Action Plan 2020-25 for the conservation of vultures in the country.
      • It will ensure minimum use of Diclofenac and prevent the poisoning of the principal food of vultures, the cattle carcasses.
      • The Vulture Safe Zone programme is being implemented at eight different places in the country where there were extant populations of vultures, including two in Uttar Pradesh.
      • To upscaling conservation four rescue centres will be opened like Pinjore in the north, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in Northeast and Hyderabad in South India.
      • The ministry has now also launched conservation plans for the red-headed and Egyptian vultures, with breeding programmes for both.
    • To study the cause of deaths of vultures in India, a Vulture Care Centre (VCC) was set up at Pinjore, Haryana in 2001.
    • Later in 2004, the VCC was upgraded to being the first Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre (VCBC) in India.
      • At present, there are nine Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in India, of which three are directly administered by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Valmiki Tiger Reserve

  • Location:
    • located at the India-Nepal border in the West Champaran district of Bihar.
    • It forms the easternmost limits of the Himalayan Terai forests in India.
    • Situated in the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone of the country, the forest has a combination of bhabar and terai tracts.
  • Establishment:
  • Biodiversity:
    • The wildlife found in the forest of National Park are the Bengal tiger, Indian rhinoceros, black bear, Indian sloth bear, otter, Indian leopard, wild dog, buffalo, and boar.
    • Also Indian flying foxes can be sighted here.
    • The Reserve has rich avifauna diversity. Over 250 species of birds have been reported.
    • Tharu’, a scheduled tribe, is the dominant community in the landscape of the Valmiki National Park.

  • Other Protected Areas in Bihar:
    • Bhimbandh Sanctuary.
    • Rajgir Sanctuary.
    • Kaimur Sanctuary.
    • Kanwar Jheel Bird Sanctuary.
    • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin.
    • Gautambudha Sanctuary.

Source: DTE

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