Vulture Conservation in India

News: The current population of vultures in Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in India is 700.


About Vultures in India

Out of 23 species of vultures in the world, nine are found in India. These include:

  Species IUCN Status
1 White rumped vulture Critically Endangered
2 Slender billed vulture Critically Endangered
3 Long billed vulture Critically Endangered
4 Red headed vulture Critically Endangered
5 Egyptian vulture Endangered
6 Himalayan Griffon Near Threatened
7 Cinereous vulture Near Threatened
8 Bearded vulture Near Threatened
9 Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) Least Concern

Threats to Vulture Population in India

  • Diclofenac: Feeding on cattle carcass with contaminated vetnary drug diclofenac has led to fatality among vulture population.
  • Habitat loss
  • Low food availability
  • Infectious diseases
  • Environmental pollution

Conservation Efforts

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has prohibited the manufacture of Diclofenac for animal use in 2008 and has also restricted packaging of multi-dose vials of Diclofenac to single dose for humans.
  • The central government has formulated a National Action Plan (2006) on Vulture Conservation. The Action Plan provides for strategies, actions for containing the decline of vulture population through ex-situ, in-situ vulture conservation.
  • Bombay Natural History Society in collaboration with the Haryana State Forest Department has set up Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in Pinjore. A ‘Vulture Captive Care facility’ has been established at Panchkula.
  • Vulture Breeding Facilities have been set up Rani, Guwahati (Assam), Buxa (West Bengal), Pinjore (Haryana) and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).
  • Breeding facilities at Zoos at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Junagarh and Hyderabad have also been set up through Central Zoo Authority.
  • Vulture Safe Zones: It is an area designated as natural habitats of vultures. The area is made free of diclofenac contaminated carcasses. It aims to sustain and increase vulture populations. VSZ are there in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam.
  • Jatayu Restaurant: These are areas where regular and safe food supply is provided to attract vultures in to the safe area and to retain vultures already there.
    White backed, Long Billed and Slender Billed Vultures are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Additional Information:

Bombay Natural History Society

  • It is a pan-India wildlife research organization and seeks to promote the cause of nature conservation. It was established in 1883.