Vultures

OCT 25

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

Why in news?

  • The Tamil Nadu government has formed a committee to set up an institutional framework for the effective conservation of vultures.
    • It has also banned the use of diclofenac, a drug, to treat cattle while there are strict restrictions on the sale of other NSAIDs in the Nilgiris, Erode and Coimbatore districts.

About Vultures:

  • 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.

Conservation efforts:

  • The MoEFCC released the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2006 with the DCGI banning the veterinary use of diclofenac in the same year and the decline of the vulture population being arrested by 2011.
  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also established the Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme, which has been successful and had three critically-endangered species bred in captivity for the first time.

  New Action Plan:

  • Under the 2020-25 plan, the MoEFCC will help states in establishing at least one ‘Vulture Safe Zone’ in each state for the conservation of the remnant population.
  • It will have an estimated budget of Rs 207 crore include setting up five additional Vulture Conservation Breeding Centers – one each in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • It has proposal for establishing four rescue centers in different geographical areas such as Pinjore (Haryana) in north India, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in north-east India and Hyderabad in south India. There are currently no dedicated rescue centers for treatment of vultures in the country.
  • The plan also envisages carrying out coordinated nation-wide vulture count to get a more accurate estimate of the size of vulture population.
  • A database will be created on emerging threats to vulture conservation including collision and electrocution.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

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

Answer