BNHS put up GPS tags on 10 vultures before release in Pench

The 10 birds - which have now been tagged - were brought on an occasion of pran-pratishtha of the idol of Ram Lalla in the Ram Temple at Ayodhya on 22 January, 2024.
Last Updated : 03 July 2024, 03:12 IST

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Mumbai: In a boost to the Jatayu conservation initiative in India, the Maharashtra Forest Department and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) have put up GPS tags on 10 endangered Long-billed vultures.

These vultures were brought from the Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre in Pinjore, Haryana, and kept in the pre-release aviary at the Pench Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra.

The 10 birds - which have now been tagged - were brought on an occasion of pran-pratishtha of the idol of Ram Lalla in the Ram Temple at Ayodhya on 22 January, 2024.

Both these tiger reserves had already constructed aviaries to host them.

10 Long-billed Vultures were released in the pre-release aviary set up in East Pench range in Pench Tiger Reserve which has been a home to vultures for many years.

Under the guidance of Kishor Rithe, Director, BNHS, Mumbai and Field Director Prabhunath Shukla the BNHS team completed the tagging operation.

On 21 January 2024, a Jatayu Conservation Project was launched in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve by state Forest, Fisheries and Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

The Jatayu Conservation Center has been set up as a major initiative of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve and BNHS, Mumbai, with the aim of re-establishing a population of the endangered Jatayu in the area.

In the first phase, 10 White-rumped Vultures from this center were kept under the care of the researchers in the pre-release aviary created in the Botezari area of Kolsa range of Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve.

These vultures were kept in the aviary for around 5 months to acclimatize with the local condition and to allow them to naturally meet the wild vultures and then released into their natural habitat.

BNHS's Vulture Conservation Breeding and Research Center at Pinjore, Haryana has been functioning since 2001.

Between 1990 and 2006, the number of vultures in the country declined at a very rapid rate.

Due to the NSAID drug Diclofenac used in domestic cattle, the vultures that were commonly seen near human settlements have now disappeared. Since carcasses of dead cattle are the main food of vultures, the number of vultures that depend on these domestic animals has declined rapidly.

Mainly Long-billed vulture, White-backed vultures and Slender-billed vultures of the genus Gyps, were included in the Critically Endangered list of IUCN. A Vulture Action Plan was published by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in 2006 for the conservation of these vultures, and it also banned the veterinary use of NSAID drug Diclofenac, which causes the death of these vultures.

To prevent extinction and to boost the population of vultures in India, Vulture Conservation Breeding Centers were established in Haryana, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal

As the newborn vultures need to be released in their natural habitat Mungantiwar decided to release vultures in their natural habitat in Pench and Tadoba tiger reserves.

In Pench Tiger Reserve, 10 Long-billed Vultures were released in the aviaries Pench Tiger Reserve under the guidance of Dr. Prabhu Nath Shukla, Field Director, PTR . This release process was executed by Vivek Rajurkar, Range Forest Officer, East Pench Piparia, Manan Singh Mahadev, Biologist, BNHS, Dr. Sujith Kolangath, Senior Veterinary Officer, Gorewada Rescue Centre, Nagpur.

Dr Kazveen Umrigar, Dr.Krushna, Shri.Sachin Rande, Hemant Bajpayee, Manansingh Mahadev, Bhanu Pratap Singh, Jeff Francies, Jonathan D'Costa, Mohammad Quasim, Lakhan Basudev, Lokesh Gurjar, Ravi Sharma, RFO Rajurkar and his staff completed the tagging operation.

The BNHS team will now leave for Tadoba to perform the same operation on 10 White rumped vultures.

Published 03 July 2024, 03:12 IST

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