Asia s First Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme


2015-11-16 09:44:12

Photo By: Javed Idrish from Dehradun

Photo By: Javed Idrish from Dehradun

Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore (JCBC) has Released 10 vultures on 13 Nov. 2015 under Vulture reintroduction programme. The exercise was part of reintroduction programme in the pre-release aviary, where birds will have an unobstructed view of the surrounding. It will also help them in getting use to the habitat in which they would be released in future. The rest were all white-backed vultures, of which six were hatched in captivity at the centre and are of two-three years of age. The other two were adult birds rescued from the wild about ten years.

Vibhu Prakash, principal scientist with BNHS, noticed the first nascent signs of a crisis nearly fifteen years ago. He had studied bird populations in Keoladeo National Park outside of Delhi in 1984, documenting 353 nesting pairs of vultures. When he returned in 1996, there were less than half those numbers.

Lindsay Oaks, a microbiologist at Washington State University working in collaboration with the US-based Peregrine Fund, who finally isolated the cause of the collapse in April 2003 and published the results the following year in Nature.  Diclofenac is a common anti-inflammatory medicine administered to livestock. It is used to treat the symptoms of inflammations, fevers and/or pain associated with disease or wounds. It was widely used in India beginning in the 1990s. The medicine is fatal to vultures, however, and a vulture is exposed to a mortal dose of diclofenac if it eats from the carcass of an animal that has been treated recently. diclofenac develop visceral gout—untreatable kidney failure that causes a crystallized bloom across their internal organs. Death occurs within weeks. Thus, vulture numbers in the region had plummeted by 97 percent. After this Indian government to officially enact a ban on the sale of diclofenac for veterinary purposes.

Vultures previously played an important role in public sanitation in India. Their disappearance has resulted in an explosion of rats and wild dogs; the spread of diseases including anthrax, rabies, and plague; a public health crisis; and a total cost of up to 34 billion US dollars (as of 2015)