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