National Action Plan for Vulture Conservation, 2020-2025
The National Action Plan for Vulture Conservation, 2020-25 was recently approved by National Board for Wild life. Vulture numbers saw a steep slide – as much as 90 per cent in some species. While the ministry has been carrying out a conservation project for vultures since 2006, the plan is to now extend the project to 2025 to not just halt the decline but to actively increase the vulture numbers in India. There are nine recorded species of vultures in India – the Oriental white-backed, long-billed, slender-billed, Himalayan, red-headed, Egyptian, bearded, cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon. Between the 1990s and 2007, numbers of three presently critically-endangered species–the Oriental white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures – declined massively with 99 per cent of the species having been wiped out.
The number of red-headed vultures, also critically-endangered now, declined by 91% while the Egyptian vultures by 80%. The Egyptian vulture is listed as ‘endangered’ while the Himalayan, bearded and cinereous vultures are ‘near threatened’.
Key Highlights of the Plan
The new plan automatically removes veterinary use of a drug if it is found to be toxic to vultures. This is to be done with the help of Drugs Controller General of India.
Under the plan, every state will host at least one vulture safe zone to conserve the remnant population of vultures in the state. These centres will facilitate conservation and breeding of vultures.
A coordinated Nation-wide vulture counting is to be conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society, Forest Department, non-profit organisations, Research Institute, etc. These countings are to be conducted at regular intervals.
Additional Conservation Breeding Centres are also being planned across the country, along with Vulture Conservation Centres with samples and information collected from the wild, analysed and stored at these centres – one each in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Four rescue centres have been proposed for different geographical areas like Pinjore in the north, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in Northeast and Hyderabad in South India.
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