The Tamil Nadu state has formed a committee to set up an institutional framework for the effective conservation of vultures, which almost went extinct in the country at the beginning of the 21st century.
- After a 96% decline in India’s vulture population between 1993 and 2003, the Central government put into place two action plans to protect the species at the national level.
- The first in 2006 and the second, ongoing plan for 2020-2025.
About the committee
- The committee, which has a two-year tenure, will take steps for monitoring the conservation and recovery of existing vulture sites and mapping of vulture populations across the State for creating safe zones.
- It will work to eliminate the use of toxic veterinary drugs, the main reason for vulture fatalities.
- Prevention of poisoning of cattle carcasses, the principal food of vultures, is also one of the responsibilities of the newly formed committee.
- It is one of the 22 species of large carrion-eating birds that live predominantly in the tropics and subtropics.
- India is home to 9 species of Vulture namely-
- The Oriental white-backed,
- The Eurasian Griffon
- Most of these 9 species face dangers of extinction.
- Bearded, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Oriental white-backed are protected in the Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
- Rest is protected under ‘Schedule IV’.
- Conservation status– As per the IUCN’s Red list out of 9 species of vultures in India, 4 species are critically endangered,1 is endangered, 3 are near threatened and 1 is least concerned.
- White rumped vulture- Critically Endangered
- Slender billed vulture- Critically Endangered
- Long billed vulture- Critically Endangered
- Red headed vulture- Critically Endangered
- Egyptian vulture- Endangered
- Himalayan Griffon- Near Threatened
- Cinereous vulture- Near Threatened
- Bearded vulture- Near Threatened
- Griffon Vulture- Least Concern
Causes for decline
- Use of Diclofenac: A veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in 2004 found in the carcass of cattle the vultures feed on.
- The veterinary use of this was banned in 2008.
- Pesticides: The presence of organochlorine pesticide, polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals were also the cause of mortality.
- Lack of Nesting Trees
- Electrocution by power lines
- Food Dearth and Contaminated Food