Study stresses action plan to save vultures

DEHRADUN:Vulture conservationists have stressed on the need to form state Vulture Conservation Action Plan to protect the species as electrocution continues to be a major threat to them in Uttarakhand.

Study stresses action plan to save vultures

Dead vultures near Kushalpur in Dehradun. Tribune photo

Jotirmay Thapliyal

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 24

Vulture conservationists have stressed on the need to form state Vulture Conservation Action Plan to protect the species as electrocution continues to be a major threat to them in Uttarakhand. 

A study conducted by researchers of Doon University and Himalayan Institute for sustainable Environment and Research Society during January 2015 to August 2017 states that more than 100 vultures, including Himalayan and Egyptian vultures were electrocuted in Dehradun and Haridwar districts during last winter. 

The state provides suitable habitat for eight vulture species out of nine found 

in India. Of these eight species, three have been categorised as critically endangered, one endangered, three near threatened and one as least concern.

The survey managed to record 7 vulture species except the critically endangered, slender-billed vulture. Among these seven recorded species, the numbers of white-backed vulture population were found to be low while the near-threatened Himalayan vulture, a winter migrant, had the maximum population. The Egyptian vulture was also found in good numbers from Kalsi to Tanakpur.

Khima Nand Balodi, who led the study, attributed carcass dumping near high voltage power transmission lines as the major reason behind vulture electrocution.

“Dead livestock are dumped by contractors and farmers near high voltage power transmission lines. Also, the municipal solid waste dumping sites are in the vicinity of the powerlines. This makes vultures vulnerable to electrocution,” argued Balodi.

The study stressed on need to draft a comprehensive plan—Uttarakhand State Vulture Conservation Action Plan—for long term conservation of the specie. It also suggested initiation of awareness and outreach programmes in the state. 

The study was supported by Conservation Leadership Programme and Oriental Bird Club, UK, among others.

FACING THREAT

  • The state provides suitable habitat for eight vulture species out of nine found in India. 
  • Of these three are critically endangered, one endangered, three near threatened and one as least concern.

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