Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vultures

Mains level : Not Much

Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will get a vulture conservation and breeding centre each, according to the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025.

Action Plan for Vulture Conservation

  • The action plan was approved by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) October 5, 2020. An earlier one was formulated in 2006 for three years.
  • The new plan has laid out strategies and actions to stem the decline in vulture population, especially of the three Gyps species:
  1. Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
  2. Slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris)
  3. Long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus)

Note: These three vulture species were listed by  IUCN, in 2000 as ‘Critically  Endangered’,  which is the highest category of endangerment.

  • This would be done through both ex-situ and in-situ conservation.
  • The plan has also suggested that new veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) be tested on vultures before their commercial release. NSAIDS often poisons cattle whose carcasses the birds pray on.

Highlights of the new plan

  • A system to automatically remove a drug from veterinary use if it is found to be toxic to vultures, with the help of the Drugs Controller General of India.
  • Conservation breeding of red-Headed vultures and Egyptian vultures and the establishment at least one vulture-safe zone in each state for the conservation of the remnant populations in that state.
  • Coordinated nation-wide vulture counting, involving forest departments, the Bombay Natural History Society, research institutes, non-profits and members of the public.
  • A database on emerging threats to vulture conservation, including collision and electrocution, unintentional poisoning, etc.

Why protect vultures?

  • Vultures are often overlooked and perceived as lowly scavengers, but they play a crucial role in the environments in which they live.
  • The scavenging lifestyle that gives them a bad reputation is, in fact, that makes them so important for the environment, nature and society.
  • Vultures, also known as nature’s cleanup crew, do the dirty work of cleaning up after death, helping to keep ecosystems healthy as they act as natural carcass recyclers.
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