BNHS successfully breeds 16 vultures in captivity
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Last Updated: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 00:32
Mumbai: The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) today said it has successfully bred for the first time in captivity 16 vultures at its Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre (VCBC) in Pinjore in Haryana.

However, the vultures can only be released back into the wild when all use of veterinary Diclofenac is effectively stopped, BNHS director Dr Asad Rahmani said in a statement.

Over the past decade nearly 99 per cent of the vultures in India have been wiped out by the use of veterinary drug Diclofenac that leads to kidney failure of vultures. Thus, the once numerous vultures have vanished from Indian skies, he said.

Of the 16 vulture fledglings, which are ready to fly, at Pinjore Centre, nine fledged during 2009-10 (three each of Long-billed Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture and White-backed Vulture). In 2008-09 one Slender-billed Vulture fledged and three White-backed Vultures fledged.

In 2007-08 two White-backed Vultures fledged at the Pinjore Centre. Thus, the Centre now has a total of 136 vultures, including the newly fledged ones, Rahmani said.

The Centre was also successful in artificial incubation of these threatened species and rescued an injured White-backed Vulture from Ahmedabad.

One nestling of White-backed Vulture successfully fledged at another BNHS Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre located at Rajabhatkhawa in West Bengal, this year, he said.

In 2009-10, three eggs of Long-billed Vulture were artificially incubated at Pinjore Centre. It took 57 days of incubation and they were raised by BNHS biologists of Pinjore Centre. They started flying at the age of 108 days, Rahmani said.

He added that BNHS and various state governments had taken young ones of vultures from the wild 5-6 years ago.

"The successful first attempt at artificial incubation of vulture eggs has given us hopes for increasing the breeding rate of these slow breeding species. The artificial incubation is a very intensive effort," Dr Vibhu Prakash, Head of BNHS Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre said.

"Special care was taken to avoid the young vultures getting attached to humans," he said.

The three Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres of BNHS in Haryana, West Bengal and Assam aim at breeding vultures in captivity and eventually releasing them in the wild when the legal ban on the use of veterinary drug Diclofenac is effectively implemented, Rahmani said adding that the BNHS is also advocating the effective enforcement of the existing ban on veterinary Diclofenac.

The vulture centres are a joint programme of BNHS and the Forest Department and are funded by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).


First Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 00:32

Tag: VultureBNHS
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