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8 critically-endangered Oriental white-backed vultures fly towards survival from Haryana

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    Environment
  • Published
    15th Sep, 2021

Context

Eight critically endangered Oriental white-backed vultures that were released into the wild for the first time in India, a year ago, have blended well into the untamed habitat outside the aviary.

Background

  • Released in: October 2020
  • From: Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre (JCBC) situated at the Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivalik ranges of the Himalayan foothills, Haryana’s Pinjore
  • All eight vultures were deployed with satellite tracking devices on their back, and orange-coloured wing tags on both wings for monitoring.
  • They have been bred in captivity so they will gradually adjust in the wild.
  • Also, they have managed to join the wild flock with other vultures such as the Himalayan griffon, which is surely an encouraging sign.

Jatayu conservation breeding centre (JCBC)

  • Jatayu conservation breeding centre (JCBC) for vultures is situated just outside Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary in Morni hills of the Shivalik ranges around 8km from the city of Pinjore off the busy Chandigarh-Shimla highway.
  • JCBC was established near Pinjore in 2004. Since then, the centre has successfully released its one pair of Himalayan Griffon vulture in 2016.
  • Pinjore is a town located in the Panchkula district of Haryana and is very popular for its Mughal Gardens.

 About the Vulture

  • The Oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps africanus) are resident birds and not migratory, so they largely stay within a radius of 50-100 km of the breeding centre.
  • It is an Old World vulturein the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks.
  • It is closely related to the European Griffon Vulture,  fulvus

Declining Vulture Population

  • Once very common, vultures are on the verge of extinction in India.
  • The vulture population in India was estimated at 40 million once.
  • Populations of three species of vultures — the Oriental white-backed vulture, the Long-billed vulture and the Slender-billed vulture — have declined by over 97% since the 1990s, and that of the Oriental white-backed vultures by a drastic 99.9%.

Threat

  • Uncontrolled veterinary usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), including Aceclofenac, Ketoprofen and Nimesulide, and the illegal use of the banned drug Diclofenac, are toxic to vultures if they feed on carcasses within 72 hours of the drugs' administration to such livestock.