Bhopal:Friday, September 5, 2008:Van Vihar National Park, Bhopal is going to establish a captive breeding centre in Kerwa area with a view to conserving vultures. For this purpose, a five-acre land has been selected near Kerwa. It may be mentioned that vultures are fed with mutton. One kg of mutton is fed to an adult vulture in four days while 100 to 200 grammes of mutton is given to its chicks thrice daily.
For the inspection of selected land, scientist of Bombay Natural History Society Dr. Vibhu Prakash is visiting Bhopal on September 14 and 15. The construction of the centre will begin after his final approval. Meanwhile, the initial fund allocation has been received for establishment of the centre from Central Zoo, New Delhi. The centre will have aviary quarantine, nursery pans, hospital pans, freezer room etc.
Vultures’ role in environment
Vultures have always played an important role in environment. They feed on flesh of dead animals which saves humanity from diseases emanating from rotting carcasses. As many as nine species of vulture are found in India. Four of these including Bengal vulture (Gyps Bengalensis), Indian long-billed (Gyps Indicus), king vulture and white vulture are found in Madhya Pradesh. The number of vultures has depleted rapidly since 1990. According to a study, the number of vultures has gone down by 90 percent between 1990 and 2002. Due to this phenomenon, these species of vulture have been placed under severely endangered category by I.U.C.N. The main reason of depletion in the number of vultures is the anti-inflammatory medicine dichlophenic which is administered to pet animals. This medicine reaches the liver of the animal and when a vulture feeds on the liver of a dead animal, the medicine causes its death. Another reason for decrease in vultures’ number is increase in carnivores including stray dogs, jackals, foxes etc. that also eat dead animals.
In view of depleting number of vultures, efforts for their in-situ and ex-situ conservation are being undertaken. The in-situ conservation includes protection of vultures’ habitats, treatment of injured birds and detecting diseases after death of a bird through post-mortem and diagnose treatment and cure. Protection of vultures’ habitats is imperative so that their rivalry with other carnivore can be lessened.
External in-situ includes captive breeding. Under this scheme, pairs of the endangered species are kept in captivity and released in the wild after breeding.