8 vultures with satellite transmitters to be released into wild —

Himalayan Griffon Vultures in an enclosure before being released in the wild (pix SShukla)

Himalayan Griffon Vultures in an enclosure before being released in the wild (pix SShukla)

Haryana state’s forest department is planning to release eight vultures, bred in captivity, into the wild after obtaining and deploying satellite transmitters, for which permission has already been obtained from the government of India.

The department has already deposited the required fee with the Union ministry of telecommunication and the frequencies on which the satellites will operate would soon be issued, said officials of the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore.

The Union government had last year imposed restrictions on attaching satellite transmitters onto endangered vultures on grounds that the same could be misused for spying.

The reintroduction of vultures into the wild was started from the Jatayu Centre, which houses 226 birds of three critically-endangered resident gyps vultures — white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures, on June 3 last year (2016).

A senior official said that only wing-tags could be put on the birds for identification and one bird could be followed for 45 days. By then, it had successfully started locating food and water and was flying high into the clouds. This was for the first time that successful reintroduction of vultures into the wild was carried out.

Vultures are becoming extinct due to veterinary drug, diclofenac. They get exposed to the drug while feeding on carcasses of cattle treated with the drug before death. The drug for veterinary use was banned in 2006.

Officials said as their population started declining rapidly in the 1990s, Haryana became the first state to initiate a programme for their conservation and reintroduction into the wild. (Times of India)

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