Endangered Vultures Spotted in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh

Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh are witnessing the heartwarming sight of endangered vultures as the majestic birds are returning to the skies over Dudhwa and Banbasa regions. This remarkable comeback is largely due to the ban on the drug diclofenac, which was once widely used in livestock and one of the primary reasons behind the decline of the vulture populations.

Among the species sighted in the Patrampur and Bail Parao ranges of the Terai forest range after nearly 15 years is the Himalayan Griffon or Himalayan vulture, which has been announced “near threatened” in the IUCN Red List. The white-rumped vulture was caught on camera three days ago in Banbasa of Champawat district. This species was once very common in the Indian subcontinent but was declared extinct by the IUCN 23 years ago.

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On February 22, red-headed vultures, known as Asian King vultures, were sighted in the Dudhwa tiger reserve. The return of these vultures is a welcome sight for conservationists, who have been working tirelessly to protect these birds from extinction.

Endangered Vultures Spotted in Uttarakhand and UP, Signaling Their Return

Image: Indian Express

According to Terai divisional forest officer (DFO) Prakash Arya, the Himalayan Griffon is one of the burliest birds native to the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau with striking bald white heads and broad hefty wings. It is the largest member of the species, which contains different vulture sub-species. The giant vulture is around 95-130 cm long, weighs between 8-12 kg and is able to fly up to an elevation of up to 5,500 metres. Moreover, they live up to 40-45 years of age.

DFO Arya, said;

We have spotted many volts (groups of vultures) in these ranges (of Terai). Earlier, only five to six of these birds would migrate during winter but this time, 50 were spotted in Patrampur. The Bail Parao range has over 150 vultures, which are nesting there too.

Endangered Vultures Spotted in Uttarakhand and UP, Signaling Their Return

Image: The Statesman

Dr. Suresh Kumar of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) revealed that the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has begun a census of vultures in India, which will be completed by the end of the year. While sightings of vultures in Uttarakhand are rare, four or five species can be seen in various parts of Dehradun, Haridwar, and Terai during migration periods. Kumar said that the efforts of the ministry and department have paid off and the number of vultures is now increasing in the Himalayan state.

The ban on diclofenac has played a significant role in the recovery of these birds. Furthermore, it is hoped that continued efforts will ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures.

Via: Times of India

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