In a first, captive-bred vultures give birth in wild at Bengal’s Rajabhatkhawa | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

In a first, captive-bred vultures give birth in wild at Bengal’s Rajabhatkhawa

Feb 25, 2024 08:54 PM IST

The forest department has named the month-old nestling F1. Its parents, N3 and P6, successfully built a nest in the wild in November 2023

Kolkata: Two captive-bred white-backed vultures in West Bengal’s Rajabhatkhawa have given birth to a chick in the wild, state forest department officials said on Sunday, describing it as a “conservation milestone”.

Captive-bred white backed vulture in West Bengal’s Rajabhatkhawa wildlife sanctuary (West Bengal forest department Photo)
Captive-bred white backed vulture in West Bengal’s Rajabhatkhawa wildlife sanctuary (West Bengal forest department Photo)

Although the vulture has been born in the captive centres, this is one of the first instances of captive-bred vultures giving birth to a chick in the wild.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

This shows that the captive-bred vultures have adequately adapted to the wild and gives a fillip to the vulture population rejuvenation programme, said Parveen Kaswan, conservator of forest and in-charge of the project.

The forest department has named the month-old nestling F1. Its parents, N3 and P6, successfully built a nest in the wild in November 2023.

“In a conservation milestone for vultures, we have finally F1 in wild-born out of our released captive-bred white-backed vultures, which takes our vulture breeding programme to the next level. Our teams were monitoring the nest regularly,” Kaswan said, according to a statement from the Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre in north Bengal.

Spread across five acres, the breeding centre at Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district boasts of releasing the highest number of vultures in India. It has released 31 white-backed vultures in the last three years.

The centre recorded its first big achievement in December 2019 when two captive Himalayan griffon vultures, fitted with transmitters to help scientists track the birds, were released in the wild.

Of the six vultures released in 2019, two were fitted with Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTT) to track their movements in the wild. The birth was recorded by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) which first documented the decline in the vulture population in India.

Around a month before the release, dummy transmitters were fitted on the vultures and researchers and officials from the BNHS and West Bengal forest department monitored their behaviours.

In July 2019, the Union environment and forest minister told the Parliament that the vulture population in India had declined by 99% since the 1980s.

The decline is primarily because of the widespread use of the veterinary drug diclofenac, a pain relief medication injected in cattle. The drug is found to be extremely toxic to birds that feed on animal carcasses.

To conserve the population of these natural scavengers, eight conservation and breeding centres, including the one at Rajabhatkhawa, have been set up across India.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On