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:
- Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
- Slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris)
- 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.