As vulture count dips, study begins in Pong reservoir : The Tribune India

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As vulture count dips, study begins in Pong reservoir

As vulture count dips, study begins in Pong reservoir

A team of researchers puts a GPS solar tag on a vulture picked from the Pong Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. Tribune photo



Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, November 22

The wildlife authorities and various environmental organisations are worried over the decline in the number of vultures in the hill state. Though the authorities have undertaken measures for enhancing breeding and conservation of vultures, no impact has been witnessed on the ground.

Apprehending that the species could go extinct, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launched an ambitious project to study the movement of ecology and recovery of the critically endangered species. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, along with the wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh Forest Department, has recently started working on this project in the Pong Reservoir protected area and its eco-sensitive zone in Kangra district.

As per information, the aim of this ambitious project is to study the movement of the endangered vulture species using satellite telemetry and systematic field survey for the identification of vultures’ feeding ground and roosting sites. The project will also envisage long-term conservation of vultures by sensitising the local communities and ensuring capacity-building of the state Forest Department in achieving this goal.

The study is being undertaken by a team of researchers led by Junior Research Fellow Malyasri Bhattacharaya and Project Assistant Ankit Zhode from the WII, Dehradun.

Rahul Rahane, Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife, Hamirpur, told The Tribune that in the first phase of the project, five adult white-rumped vultures (Gyps Besngalensis) had been picked from natural feeding sites in and around the Pong Lake Wildlife Sanctuary and tagged with GPS solar tags weighing 55 gm each. “The tags were fitted as a backpack harness and the birds were seen moving normally with minimal weight. From the data points received, it can be seen that the five vultures are moving regularly from their daily roosting and feeding sites. The average distance being travelled is around 36 km per day,” he said.

Official sources reveal that the initial study of the vultures’ movement reveal that they started their day movements from their roosting sites around 9.30 am and came back in evening. Their movements also depend on the weather conditions in the area. The team is recording daily activity of the vultures from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, when they are mostly active.

Wildlife authorities worried

  • The wildlife authorities and environmental organisations are worried over the decline in the number of vultures in the state
  • The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launched a project to study the movement of ecology of the critically endangered species and its recovery
  • The aim is to study the movement of vultures using satellite telemetry and systematic field survey for the identification of vultures’ feeding ground and roosting sites


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