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Himalayan Vulture

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Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Species extinction & protection   >   Species in news

Why in news?

  • India's first captive breeding success story of the Himalayan vultures inside the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati was recently made headlines.

About Himalayan Vulture:

  • Himalayan Griffon vulture or Himalayan Vulture inhabits the higher regions of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau.
  • This species is distributed from western China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, east through the Himalayan mountain range in India, Nepal and Bhutan, to central China and Mongolia.
  • They can fly at an elevation of up to 5,500 metre with help of their wide and powerful wings.

About Vultures in India:

  • There are nine recorded species of vultures in India - The Oriental white-backed, long-billed, slender-billed, Himalayan, red-headed, Egyptian, bearded, cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon.
  • Of these 4 species - oriental white-backed, long-billed, slender-billed vultures and red-headed vultures are considered critically-endangered as per IUCN red list.
  • Vulture numbers saw a steep slide — as much as 90 per cent in some species — in India since the 1990s in one of the most drastic declines in bird populations in the world.
  • The crash in vulture populations came into limelight in the mid-90s, and in 2004 the cause of the crash was established as diclofenac.
  • A veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammatory diseases such as gout — in carcasses that vultures would feed off.


Which of the following birds of India are critically endangered as per IUCN red list?

1. Indian black vulture or red-headed vulture

2. Siberian Crane

3. Forest Owlet

4. Great Indian Bustard

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 1,2 and 3 only

(d)1,2, 3 and 4