Recently, 150 vultures were seen in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), Bihar, which has prompted a vulture conservation plan in the protected region of VTR.

Important points:

  • It is one of the 22 species of large carrion-eating birds that live predominantly in the tropics and subtropics.
  • They act an important function as nature’s garbage collectors and help to keep the environment clean of waste.
  • Vultures also play a valuable role in keeping wildlife diseases in check.
  • India is home to 9 species of Vulture namely the Oriental white-backed, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Himalayan, Red-headed, Egyptian, Bearded, Cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon.
  • Most of these 9 species face danger of extinction.
  • Bearded, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Oriental white-backed are protected in the Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Rest are protected under ‘Schedule IV’.

IUCN status:

Poisoning from diclofenac that is used as a medicine for livestock.

Loss of Natural Habitats due to anthropogenic activities.

Food Dearth and Contaminated Food.

Electrocution by Power lines.

  • Recently, the Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched a Vulture Action Plan 2020-25 for the conservation of vultures in the country.
  • It will ensure minimum use of Diclofenac and prevent the poisoning of the principal food of vultures, the cattle carcasses.
  • The Vulture Safe Zone programme is being implemented at eight different places in the country where there were extant populations of vultures, including two in Uttar Pradesh.
  • To upscaling conservation four rescue centres will be opened like Pinjore in the north, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in Northeast and Hyderabad in South India.
  • The ministry has now also launched conservation plans for the red-headed and Egyptian vultures, with breeding programmes for both.
  • To study the cause of deaths of vultures in India, a Vulture Care Centre (VCC) was set up at Pinjore, Haryana in 2001.
  • Later in 2004, the VCC was upgraded to being the first Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre (VCBC) in India.
  • At present, there are nine Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in India, of which three are directly administered by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Valmiki Tiger Reserve

  • located at the India-Nepal border in the West Champaran district of Bihar.
  • It forms the easternmost limits of the Himalayan Terai forests in India.
  • Situated in the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone of the country, the forest has a combination of bhabar and terai tracts.
  • This was established in March 1994 under Project Tiger.
  • The wildlife found in the forest of National Park are the Bengal tiger, Indian rhinoceros, black bear, Indian sloth bear, otter, Indian leopard, wild dog, buffalo, and boar.
  • Also Indian flying foxes can be sighted here.
  • The Reserve has rich avifauna diversity. Over 250 species of birds have been reported.
  • Tharu’, a scheduled tribe, is the dominant community in the landscape of the Valmiki National Park.


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