Rare Eurasian griffon vulture spotted at Delhi biodiversity park | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Rare Eurasian griffon vulture spotted at Delhi biodiversity park

Mar 28, 2023 11:56 PM IST

The bird was spotted at the park on Sunday by Anip Shankar, a regular birdwatcher at ABP, officials said

Birders have spotted a Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) at the Aravalli Biodiversity Park (ABP) — the first time that the migratory bird has been spotted at the park in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, officials said on Tuesday.

The Eurasian griffon vulture at Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Birders say the vulture is generally seen in the National Capital Region once a year, with the last sighting being in RK Puram in November 2022. (Anip Shankar)
The Eurasian griffon vulture at Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Birders say the vulture is generally seen in the National Capital Region once a year, with the last sighting being in RK Puram in November 2022. (Anip Shankar)

The bird was spotted at the park on Sunday by Anip Shankar, a regular birdwatcher at ABP, officials said.

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“On Sunday, I saw several birds flying away and from a distance, I could make out a raptor was present. Upon coming closer, I saw that it was a vulture and I was able to get fairly close enough and click a few photographs. While it is tricky to identify and differentiate between the Eurasian griffon and the Himalayan griffon, the photographs from a close distance helped us confirm that it was indeed the Eurasian griffon, which is fairly rare for Delhi,” Shankar said.

Birders say the vulture is generally seen in the National Capital Region once a year, with the last sighting being in RK Puram in November 2022.

“The Eurasian griffon was sighted sitting on the rocky cliffs of DDA’s Aravalli Biodiversity Park for the first time, with the last two sightings of the bird flying over the Capital. The bird sighted on Sunday was a juvenile, and it is a rare winter visitor to this region. It breeds in Balochistan (in Pakistan and Afghanistan),” said M Shah Hussain, scientist in-charge at ABP

Hussain said the sighting of the vulture proves the impact that conservation efforts can have in conserving natural heritage. “The sighting of the Eurasian griffon is a triumph for conservation efforts and a positive sign for the future of Delhi’s wildlife,” he said.

Sohail Madan, centre manager, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, said there have been sporadic sightings of the vulture across NCR over the last few years. “It is interesting that the vulture was spotted in March, as the past records of sightings were mainly from November and December. So, this is a sighting made as part of its return migration,” he said.

Birder Kanwar B Singh said, “It is rare to spot the vulture within the city. Across NCR, there has been one-odd sighting almost every one to two years.”

The Eurasian griffon vulture is classified in the ‘least concern’ category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Globally, however, its numbers are on the decline.

The bird is known for its impressive wingspan and like other vultures, plays a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem by consuming dead animal carcasses and removing pathogens and toxins from the environment.

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