Himalayan vulture makes a comeback in the Aravalis

Himalayan vulture makes a comeback in the Aravalis

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The Himalayan griffon vulture, a threatened species was recently spotted in the Aravalis along Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, near Mangar Bani sacred grove. While the Griffon may have been spotted in the 1990s in NCR by some birders, its sighting is nevertheless very exciting, they said.

Vultures in Indian cities and towns showed a steep decline since the 1990s possibly due to Diclofenac poisoning from cattle carcasses they fed on. Some birders say they are making a quiet comeback even while studies claim that juvenile vultures that migrate from central Asia, Mongolia, China and others pass through India. Even during their short stay here, they are affected by Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

The use of Diclofenac in cattle is now banned, but birders say people continue to use it on the sly. Studies by the Bombay Natural History Society in the 1990s found that vultures were possibly dying of kidney failure triggered by Diclofenac. Asad R Rahmani, director of BNHS, said it’s a welcome sighting. “They do migrate to plains and are spotted on and off” but what is shocking is that Rahmani’s team has spotted a trend in these sightings. Only juvenile vultures are spotted often in India, not adults.

“The new generation or juveniles are coming here and dying in the wintering areas. The adults stay back and survive because Diclofenac is not used in their country of origin,” he said. Rahmani said the loss of juveniles can be very detrimental to the population of vultures as a whole. “The only solution is to effect stringent implementation of the Diclofenac ban,” he said.Faiyaz A Khudsar, scientist in-charge at Yamuna Biodiversity Park, said there are many reports of juveniles being spotted in India, and occasionally in northern India now. “The Himalayan griffon, the white-rumped vulture and the long-billed vulture are worst affected by Diclofenac. While some may be affected by poisoning, these birds are now being seen as they come down from the hills. Even though these are migrant species, it is important that they have been spotted in the Aravalis,” Khudsar said. Recently, a Himalayan griffon vulture was also spotted near Lansdowne forest division.

Jitender Dhir, a birder who spotted the species earlier last month, said these sightings call for protection of the scrub forests near Mangar. “Egyptian vultures are also dependent on this region due to availability of naturally available wild carcasses as well as human-dumped cattle carcasses. The nesting of Egyptians has been confirmed in the area. Presence of scavengers like the vulture signifies the importance of the area as a healthy ecosystem. The Griffon is being spotted the first time after 1991, according to members from the Delhi bird group,” Dhir said.

via Himalayan vulture makes a comeback in the Aravalis – The Economic Times.

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