Conservation of Vultures

  • IASbaba
  • July 5, 2021
  • 0
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Conservation of Vultures

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Conservation; Biodiversity

In news 

  • Recently, 150 vultures were seen in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), Bihar, which has prompted a vulture conservation plan in the protected region.

What is the importance of Vultures?

  • They live in the tropics and subtropics.
  • Nature’s garbage collectors: Vultures are the scavengers who do the work of cleaning up, and keeping the ecosystem healthy.
    • Despite feeding on infected carcass, vultures do not get infected. 
    • The acids in their stomach are potent enough to kill the pathogen. 
    • Thus, the chain of infection is broken.
    • Therefore, vultures invisibly controls the spread of harmful pathogens causing deadly anthrax, cholera, foot and mouth disease, rabies etc.
  • They also prevent the contamination of water sources, especially in the wild. 
    • When animals die near watering hole, there is an imminent danger of contamination resulting in a quick spread of infections and mass death. 
    • But vultures devour the carcasses in totality thereby preventing a tragic mishap.

What is the status of vultures in India?

  • India is home to 9 species of Vulture: Oriental white-backed, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Himalayan, Red-headed, Egyptian, Bearded, Cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon.
  • Most of these 9 species face danger of extinction.
  • Wildlife Protection Act 1972
    • Schedule-1: Bearded, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Oriental white-backed 
    • Rest are protected under ‘Schedule IV’.
  • IUCN status:
    • Critically endangered: Oriental white-backed, Slender-billed, Long-billed, Red-headed
    • Endangered: Egyptian
    • Near threatened: Himalayan, Bearded, Cinereous
    • Least Concerned: Indian Griffon
  • Threats:
    • Diclofenac is used as a medicine for livestock. Vultures which feed on such dead livestock gets exposed to diclofenac that causes kidney failure threatening its life.
    • Loss of Natural Habitats due to anthropogenic activities.
    • Food Dearth and Contaminated Food.
    • Electrocution by Power lines.

Do You Know?

  • Recently, the Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched a Vulture Action Plan 2020-25 for the conservation of vultures in the country.
    • Ensure minimum use of Diclofenac 
    • The Vulture Safe Zone programme is being implemented at eight different places 
    • Four rescue centres at Pinjore (Haryana) , Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Guwahati (Assam) and Hyderabad (Telangana)
    • First Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre (VCBC) in India at Pinjore, Haryana 

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