August 22, 2019 | 4:10 PM IST
vulture population

Endangered resident Gyps vulture population dips miserably in 30-yrs

The Union environment minister on Friday recently expressed his concern in the declining population vultures in the country in barely three decades. This was in response to a query on the status of vultures in the country.

Informing the parliament minister Prakash Javdekar said that the three species of endangered resident Gyps vultures is around 19,000 – white-backed (6,000), long-billed (12,000) and slender-billed (1,000). He said the decline in population was first noticed in the mid-90s and by 2007 the decline was around 99 per cent. He attributed the main reason to the veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ‘Diclofenac’ given to cattle in pain and inflammation. The drug is extremely toxic to vultures and causes renal failure. The usage of the drug in 2006 was banned, but the misuse of multi-dose vials of human formulation of the drug in treating cattle was still causing mortality in vultures.

In a written reply he said, “The surveys are carried out mainly for the three species of critically endangered resident Gyps vultures. These three species were very common in the country with an estimated population of 40 million in early eighties.”
He informed that four centres established in Pinjore (Haryana, 2004), Rajabhatkhawa (West Bengal, 2006), Rani (Assam, 2004) and Kerwa (Bhopal, 2008) are being managed by respective State Forest Departments with support from BNHS and Union ministry of environment.
Four other centers are being run by State forest departments with support from the Central Zoo Authority in Junagarh (Gujarat, 2006), Nandankanan (Odisha, 2006) Hyderabad (Telangana, 2006) and Muta in Ranchi
. The environment ministry also doled out details of financial support for vulture conservation to various states for saving critically endangered species and habitats of centrally sponsored scheme – Development of Wildlife Habitats, said a report.

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