The Haryana government on Friday launched Asia’s First ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said almost 95 per cent of vultures have disappeared from the country due to the widespread use of diclofenac – a pain killer drug used to treat cattle.
The Centre has become prominent vulture breeding and conservation centre in the country-after successfully breeding Himalayan Griffon Vultures-an old world vulture in the family of Accipitridae-in captivity.
Releasing two Himalayan Griffon Vultures-Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar said that with this achievement, country will ‘have four crore vultures in the next 10 years,” he added.
The Himalayan Griffon is closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps species of vultures but is not endangered.
Two Himalayan Griffons-released on Friday – have been in captivity for over a decade and have been in the aviary with resident Gyps vultures. These birds were wing-tagged and were leg-ringed for identification.
DICLOFENAC KILLED VULTURES
“Breeding and conservation of vultures is a significant step in the direction of saving the species. It is a matter of concern that some vulture species have become endangered. Almost 95 per cent vultures have disappeared and the reason is diclofenac, a pain killer drug given to cattle which can kill them,” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said.
Khattar said that the behavior and movement of the birds will be closely monitored. Having been in captivity for many years, it will be interesting to see how they adjust to wild conditions.
“Himalayan Griffon Vultures were kept in the release aviary which is just outside the vulture centre. The birds had been released in the aviary on November 13, 2015. When they lifted the front netting giving the captive Himalayan Griffons the option of joining the wild Griffons, the released vultures readily stepped outside and joined the wild vultures,” a Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre official said.
JAVADEKAR HAILS PROGRAMME
Prakash Javadekar later handed over 10 captive bred vultures, which have siblings at the centre, to Field Director, Van Vihar National Park, Madhya Pradesh, A K Srivastava, as a part of the genetic management of captive vulture population.
Javadekar lauded the support extended by the Haryana Government in reintroduction of the programme. While releasing captive vultures in pre-release aviaries close to the breeding centre, he gave one the name ‘Jodh Singh’.