Himalayan Griffon spotted in Sahyadri Tiger Reserve

Himalayan Griffon spotted in Sahyadri Tiger Reserve

Like other vultures, it is a scavenger and eats rotten meat

Range Forest Officer Snehel Magar and forest guard Santosh Chalke spotted the bird hovering in the Jangli Jaigad fort area. Credit: Santosh Chalke

A Himalayan Griffon vulture has been spotted in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve.

The Himalayan Griffon vultures are found in Tibet, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Himalayan belt in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Western China and Mongolia to some parts of Southern Europe and North Africa.

“The Himalayan Griffon was spotted in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve on 9 May around 10 am,” Rohan Bhate, ornithologist and honorary wildlife warden, told DH on Wednesday.

“We tried looking for the next seven to 10 days but could not spot it again,” said Bhate.

The English name of this bird is ‘Griffon Vulture’ while the scientific name is ‘Gyps fulvus’.

“It is a very large bird and its height is usually 125 cm. The length of two wings (wingspan) is about 8 to 9 feet.  Male and female Griffon vultures have been reported to weigh from 8 to 10  kg, This is a rare vulture species. The feathers on the head are white, the rufous colour on the back and the tail feathers are dark brown-black,” said Bhate.

Like other vultures, it is a scavenger and eats rotten meat. “They build nests on high ridges/cliffs and lay one egg at a time," he said.

Recently, while patrolling the Fort of Jangli Jaigad area of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, Range Forest Officer Snehel Magar and forest guard Santosh Chalke spotted the bird hovering in the Jangli Jaigad fort area.

Chalke gave the photo to Rohan Bhate, for further study, which revealed an orange tag on the right-wing of this bird.

Sahyadri Tiger Project Field Director Samadhan Chavan, Deputy Director Uttam Sawant, Assistant Conservator of Forests Suresh Salunkhe, Assistant Conservator of Forests and Range Forest Officer Sandeep Kumbhar congratulated Magar and Chalke for this rare record.

“The vulture has been tagged for scientific and migratory studies by some ornithologist,” Bhate said, adding that to find out and contact the concerned ornithologist we have contacted vulture researchers in different countries and Birdlife International, Indian Bird Conservation Network, BNHS and inform about this record.

Earlier in 2009, Bhate had recorded one single King Vulture on the plateaus of Chalekewadi which is also in the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary.

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