Asia’s first Gyps vulture reintroduction programme

What is Gyps vulture reintroduction programme?

India becomes the first Asian country that has launched a vulture breeding and conservation programme for the Himayalan Griffons, aiming at a manifold increase in the number of wild vultures. Asia’s first `Gyps vulture reintroduction programme’ is being carried out by the government of Haryana in Pinjore.

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The Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) is an Old World vulture and is closely related to the griffon vulture, G. fulvus. The exercise was part of reintroduction programme in the pre-release aviary, where birds will have an unobstructed view of the surrounding. It will also help them in getting use to the habitat in which they would be released in future.

Mr. Javadekar and Mr. Khattar jointly released two Himalayan griffons into the wild from the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore. When they lifted the front netting giving the captive Himalayan griffons the option of joining the wild griffons, the released vultures readily stepped outside and joined the wild vultures.

The Himalayan Griffon is closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps species of vultures but is not endangered. Two Himalayan Griffons-released on Friday – have been in captivity for over a decade and have been in the aviary with resident Gyps vultures. These birds were wing-tagged and were leg-ringed for identification.

What is the reason behind the dearth of Vultures and other birds?

The drug, called veterinary diclofenac, is an anti-inflammatory and was given to India’s livestock as a means to help fend off a number of diseases that result from intensive cattle rearing. The birds were consuming meat from animals that had recently been treated with diclofenac. Through eating that meat, the vultures were also being exposed to the drug which quickly attacked and shut down their kidney function, leading to a rapid death.

Vultures play a vital role in keeping the environment clean, their breeds should be increased and the government is constantly working to increase their numbers. Haryana and other states are also working in the direction of conservation of vultures.

Also read: India Biodiversity Award 2016 goes to which reserve?

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