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population of vulture- Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Population of Vulture


What’s in news?

The population of vultures in the Nilgiris has increased by more than 26 % since 2012

Key data:

  • In 2012, the number of vultures seen in the Nilgiris was around 152 individuals, comprising the White-rumped vulture, Asian king vulture and the Long-billed vulture. 
  • In 2018, 192 individuals were spotted.
  • These three species of vulture are known to nest almost exclusively in the Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in Southern India, other vulture species, such as the Cinereous vulture, the Himalayan griffon vulture and Egyptian vulture have been spotted visiting the Nilgiris each year.

Vulture species in India:

  • Nine species of vulture can be found living in India and these species of raptor are in danger of extinction because of diclofenac drug and habitat loss.
  • Gyps species of vultures are birds of prey mainly found in Himalayas, Rajasthan, Gange Plate and north side of Indian Subcontinent.
  • The species are Griffon Vulture, Indian Vulture, Himalayan Vulture, Bearded Vulture, Slender-Billed Vulture, White-Rumped Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Red-Headed Vulture 

Diclofenac threat:

  • Vultures feed on carcasses.
  • Those carcasses of cattle that were diclofenac administered is a threat to vultures.
  • Because no critical enzyme is present in vulture to breakdown diclofenac.
  • After eating drug administered carcass, Vultures die from acute kidney failure, within few days or they lose their ability to reproduce

Protection of Vulture in India:

  • ” Vulture Recovery Plan” was initiated in 2006
  • The plan provided three major recommendations –
    • diclofenac should be banned for veterinary use
    • a safe alternate for this drug should be found
    • conservation breeding programme
  • The government has banned the veterinary use of diclofenac in 2006

Conservation breeding centers:Ex-situ conservation initiative:

  • The vulture research facility at Pinjore, Haryana became Asia’s first Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre in 2005
  • India has four vulture breeding facilities:
    • Guwahati (Assam),
    • Pinjore (Haryana),
    • Buxa (West Bengal),
    • Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).
  • Four more centres – managed by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) :
    • Junagarh in Gujarat,
    • Nandankanan in Orissa,
    • Hyderabad in Telangana
    • Muta in Ranchi

Cascading effects:

  • If vultures are extinct, then this will lead to Unnatural changes in the food chain
  • Increase in other scavengers like feral dogs and rats.
  • Incidence of fatal diseases such as rabies increases.
  • Cattle owners have to spend more to bury/burn the dead animals.
  • Cattle owners will dispose the carcasses into rivers and this will contaminate the water.
  • Bone collectors who depend on vulture-cleaned carcasses for their livelihood will also affected.


Links to note:


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