• India’s vulture population between 1993 and 2003, the Central government put into place two action plans to protect the species at the national level — the first in 2006 and the second, ongoing plan for 2020-2025.
  • One of the important action points in this nationwide plan is the formation of State-level committees to save the critically endangered population of vultures.
  • Acting on it, the Tamil Nadu Government formed a State-level Committee to set up an institutional framework for the effective conservation of vultures, which almost went extinct in the country at the beginning of the 21st century.
  • A formal order was issued by SupriyaSahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, on Wednesday.
  • In Tamil Nadu, four species of vultures are found — the Oriental white-backed vulture, the long-billed vulture, the red-headed vulture, and the Egyptian vulture.
  • “The first three are residents and can be found in the landscapes of the Nilgiris and Sathyamangalam “There is evidence of Egyptian vulture breeding only at one site in Dharmapuri
  • Vultures play a key role as nature’s scavengers, keeping the environment clean.
  • Their social and ecological significance cannot be underestimated.“It is the last level scavenger.”

‘Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025’

  • It proposes to establish Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • There would also be a conservation breeding programme for the Red Headed vulture and Egyptian vulture, and at least one “Vulture Safe Zone” in every State for the conservation of the remnant populations.

There would be four rescue centres in different geographical areas:

  1. Pinjore in north India,
  2. Bhopal in central India,
  3. Guwahati in northeast India and
  4. Hyderabad in south India,

as well as regular surveys to track population numbers, the plan envisages

Importance To Protect Nature

  • Vultures, as carcass feeders, hold the key for a natural mechanism of infection control.
  • Vultures are the scavengers who do the work of cleaning up, and keeping the ecosystem healthy. The beauty is, despite feeding on infected carcass, vultures do not get infected.
  • The acids in their stomach are potent enough to kill the pathogen. Thus, the chain of infection is broken. It invisibly controls the spread of harmful pathogens causing deadly anthrax, cholera, foot and mouth disease, rabies and distemper.
  • The birds also prevent the contamination of water sources, especially in the wild.
  • When animals die near watering hole, there is an imminent danger of contamination resulting in a quick spread of infections and mass death.
  • But vultures devour the carcasses in totality thereby preventing a tragic mishap.


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