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More species of vultures to be conserved

Encouraged by the success of the vulture propagation and conservation project, the wildlife wing of the Forest Department has decided to broaden the ambit of the project by bringing other species like eagles, buzzards and falcons under it.

The dwindling population of vultures in the state has registered an appreciable increase to almost 800 ever since protected areas were created for these natural scavengers in Kangra district. With the presence of 22 species of raptors being sighted and recorded in Himachal, the wildlife wing has decided to create protected areas for other species of vultures and eagles, so that they can be saved from getting extinct.

“We have decided to prepare a baseline date of these species of raptors found in Himachal so that their migratory behaviour, habitat and food preferences can be studied so that in-situ conservation projects can be started for their protection and increase in population,” said AK Gulati, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife. He added that during the recent survey undertaken to estimate the number of vultures in the state, more than 25 birds of different species were sighted.

Though vultures have been sighted in Kangra, Nalagarh and Nahan areas, the foray of these birds into new areas like Chamba and Kinnaur have raised hopes for undertaking conservation and breeding projects of some other rare species like white eyed buzzard, eagles, Himalayan griffon and vultures. A total of 70 species of vultures, hawks, buzzard, kites, harriers and falcons are found in the Indian sub-continent.

The creation of 27 nesting sites spread over 10 hectares each in the pine forests in Kangra district has brought about encouraging results with the number of vultures increasing to over 800 from a mere 30 in 2004-05. The vulture sites are mainly concentrated in Parol, Salol, Chadevh, Daulatpur and Mastgarh as these areas have ample mother pine trees that vultures find most suitable for setting up their nests.

The Wildlife Department also proposes to set up two vulture restaurants near Pong Dam where carcasses from ‘gau sadans’ will be provided. Besides, this new vulture safe zone will be set up near Nahan and in Mandi district. The banning of diclofenac drug administered to livestock has helped in saving vultures from a certain death.

Conserving nature’s scavengers

 The Forest Department has decided to broaden the ambit of vulture conservation project by bringing other species like eagles, buzzards and falcons under it

 The dwindling population of vultures in the state has registered an increase to almost 800 ever since protected areas were created for them in Kangra

 With the presence of 22 species of raptors being sighted and recorded in Himachal, the wildlife wing has decided to create protected areas for other species of vultures and eagles

The Tribune (27-09-2013)