The Telangana forest department requested some white-backed vultures from Gadchiroli for captive breeding at Hyderabad
A brief note on the issue
- The forest department of Telangana state, which had requested for 10 (5 pairs) of white-backed vultures from Gadchiroli for captive breeding at Hyderabad in February last year.
- Following the request, the Maharashtra forest department had sought clearance from the central government for the transfer of the vultures, under Section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- Once approved, these vultures will be placed in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park
- The Telangana forest department is implementing a vulture conservation project, sponsored by Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
- The zoo is also among 10 zoos in the country selected for upgradation to global standards by the CZA.
- CZA has assigned Nehru Zoological Park as the site for conservation breeding of mouse deer and vultures.
About white-backed vultures
- The 2007 all-India survey indicated the numbers of the oriental white-backed vultures had declined by a staggering 99.9% over the preceding 15 years
- Numbers of white-backed vultures – once the most common large raptor in the world – have collapsed mainly due to the use of Diclofenac, a painkiller drug, in veterinary practice.
- The vultures who eat carcasses of animals treated with diclofenac soon died of kidney failure.
- While the manufacture of veterinary diclofenac was banned in 2006, the drug formulated for humans is still available.
- Conservation status: The white-backed vulture has been listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Vulture population in India
- Populations of three Gyps vultures in India and Nepal crashed by up to 99% during 10-15 years from the early 1990s.
- Three affected species, the white-rumped vulture, the long-billed vulture and the slender-billed vulture are all now listed as Critically Endangered.
- The decline in India was first quantified at Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, by Dr Vibhu Prakash, Principal Scientist of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
- Between 1985-86 and 1996-97, the population of oriental white-backed vulture declined by an estimated 97% at Keoladeo, and by 2003, this colony was extinct.
The Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025
- The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared a plan for conserving vultures.
- As per the plan, drugs that are used to treat cattle and known to poison vultures will be banned by the Drugs Controller General of India.
- Diclofenac, a drug used to treat cattle, was linked to kidney failure in vultures and a decline in the bird’s population
- The ‘Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025’ also proposes to establish Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- There would also be a conservation breeding programme for the Red Headed vulture and Egyptian vulture, and at least one “Vulture Safe Zone” in every State for the conservation of the remnant populations.
- There would be four rescue centres in different geographical areas:
- Pinjore in north India
- Bhopal in central India
- Guwahati in northeast India and
- Hyderabad in south India,
- The plan envisages regular surveys to track population numbers
- The plan was approved by the NBWL in its meeting on October 5