BNHS successfully breeds 16 vultures in captivity

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).

-PTI



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