Wednesday, April 17, 2024

India’s southernmost vulture inhabitants stands at 320 people


Greater than 300 vultures had been recorded within the just lately accomplished synchronous vulture survey within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) encompassing elements of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, in response to information from the Tamil Nadu Forest Division.

In accordance with the info, the Mudumalai-Sathyamangalam-Bandipur-Wayanad advanced of the NBR accounted for over 82% of the vultures recorded in the course of the survey. The best quantity was recorded within the Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu.

The survey was performed within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, the Billigiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Tiger Reserve, the Nagerhole Tiger Reserve, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nellai Forest Division.

A complete of 217 critically endangered white-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis), 47 long-billed vultures (Gyps indicus), 50 Asian king vultures (Sarcogyps calvus), 4 endangered Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) and two “close to threatened” Himalayan griffon vultures (Gyps himalayensis) had been recorded in the course of the survey.

The NBR is residence to 3 resident species: the white-rumped, long-billed and Asian king vultures. It’s also residence to the final viable populations of the three species south of the Vindhya Vary.

In a press release, the Forest Division mentioned the variety of vultures had elevated for the reason that final synchronous vulture census, performed in February 2023, when 246 vultures had been recorded. In the newest survey, performed in December 2023, the variety of vultures recorded had elevated to 320 people.

The 4 Egyptian vultures and two Himalayan griffon vultures had been sighted within the Nellai Forest Division and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chatting with The Hindu, Supriya Sahu, Extra Chief Secretary, Setting, Local weather Change, and Forests, mentioned the Tamil Nadu authorities had ready a framework for vulture conservation throughout the State with the creation of an professional panel in 2022, headed by the Chief Wildlife Warden.

She mentioned that among the many successes scored by the panel was the formulation and implementation of the carcass-handling protocol to make sure extra availability of meals for the scavengers. “Beforehand, within the case of pure deaths of enormous animals like elephants, the carcasses could be buried after autopsy. Nevertheless, for the reason that protocol has been in pressure, the carcasses are left for the vultures and different scavengers…, Ms. Sahu mentioned.

“The State has additionally strictly carried out the ban on Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Medicine (NSAIDs), reminiscent of diclofenac, which are utilized in veterinary therapies and dangerous to vultures,” Ms. Sahu mentioned. She added that 104 producers and sellers of multi-dose diclofenac vials had been prosecuted for the sale of the drug.

Whole vultures:

Whole variety of vultures recorded in survey – 320

Whole variety of White-rumped vultures recorded – 217

Whole variety of Lengthy-billed vultures recorded – 47

Whole variety of Purple-headed or Asian king vultures – 50

Egyptian vulture and Himalayan griffon vulture – 6

The State authorities additionally plans to open a rescue and rehabilitation heart for injured vultures and works in the direction of declaring “vulture-safe zones” the place there will likely be no use of NSAIDs.

Conservationists and researchers, who’ve studied vultures within the area, say that the vulture inhabitants has stabilised within the final decade. H. Byju, a researcher and creator of Valley of Hope – Moyar and Vultures, says extra must be finished to safeguard India’s southernmost inhabitants of vultures.

“As an example, the explanations as to why the Egyptian vulture is discovered generally throughout Karnataka and sporadically in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi and never throughout the NBR, in addition to researchers’ persevering with incapacity to seek out the Asian king vulture’s nesting websites signifies the necessity for extra analysis in regards to the inhabitants,” mentioned Mr. Byju. He provides the unfold of invasive species, the withering of bushes that the vultures depend on for nesting, and forest fires stay existential threats to the inhabitants that have to be managed if the inhabitants is to extend within the coming years.

S. Bharathidasan, secretary of Arulagam, a non-governmental organisation working in wildlife conservation and a member of the State-level Committee for Vulture Conservation, says the rise within the inhabitants signifies that it’s regular. To additional improve the inhabitants, the provision of carcasses is necessary, he says. Cattle carcasses and street kills should be left within the open within the fringe areas, after they’re examined for dangerous medicine, to make sure meals for the scavenging wildlife, he notes. 

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