Whie Backed Vultures In Rajaji National Park
White Backed Vulture at Rajaji National Park
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According to Bird Life International 2013 , the White Rumped Vulture qualifies as critically endangered bird , because it has suffered and extremely rapid population decline primarily as a result of feeding on carcasses animals treated with the veterinary drug diclofenac.

Field Characters : Smallest of all Indian gyps vultures it is mainly dark blackish brown with naked thick dark brown neck white ruff at the base of the neck, dark silvery upper mandible and conspicuous white rump visible flying or at the time of spreading wings.
In flight a broad whitish band along underside of wings characteristic,  immature are more brownish than black and without white rump or under wing band head and neck covered with dirty white fluffy down.White Backed vulture In Rajaji National Park

Distribution: Before year 1990 the white backed vulture was probably the most abundant culture of the world particularly in the northern states of India, It was also reported from pakistan Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan , Myanmar, Thailand Laos, Cambodia and Southern Vietnam and  from Southern China and Malaysia. It has been recorded from south east Afghanistan and Iran where its status is currently unknown according to Bird Life International 2001, it's disappeared from most of Southeast Asia in the early 2003. White Backed Vultures have become extremely rare mainly due to lack of carcasses of large ungulates ,both wild and domestic ,which are  main food of vultures.
  Before 1995 in Uttarakhand , Vultures nests were found every where with a large home range It was living in flocks and breeds on tall trees in loose scattered colonies ,however it is not unusual to find a solitary nest , These nests are usually made by young bird , Vulture nests were found inn towns and cities such as Dehradun , Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kotdwar Etc.

  In Early 1990s White Backed Vultures were also seen in the Himalayas along the Ganges and at Chamoli and Uttarakashi , Recent regular records shows that White Backed Vultres have been seen at Rajaji National Park , where it has been occasionally cited with isolated & active nests .

Vulture in Decline:  The most catastrophic and rapid decline of the White Backed Vulture has been seen in South Asia , Decline was first reported in newspapers in the mid of 1990 and later confirmed scientifically at Kewla Deo National Park and all over India .
 Similar steep decline was seen in other countries too .White Rumped Vulture Fauna Map in Rajaji National Park
For many years virus related disease was considered as the likely cause of the massive number of deaths of Vultures , But in 2003 anti inflammatory drugs diclofenac identified as the culprit,  this drug is used as a pain killer for domestic livestock , if livestock dies within 2 to 5 days after injection of diclofenac and vultures feed on it carcass they die because of renal failure which causes visceral gout .

The gyps species of Vultures have disappeared by 97 to 99 percent during the last 15 years. and  now the rate of decline is nearly 50 percent per annum for the remaining populations.

Ecology: Vultures is a bird of open country side , avoiding thick forest and wood and hilly areas as it feeds on large carcasses,  it has to find them visually so it source regularly on thermals, covering hundreds of square kilometers in a single day , find food either directly or by looking at other descending Vultures and scavengers.

Since the collapse of the white backed vulture population from the mid 1990, domestic animal carcasses are now mainly attended by dogs , crows and cttale Egrets and because of that population of domestic dogs has increased , triggering scare of rabies in humans.

Threats: The white backed Vulture is in real danger of becoming extinct in another 5 to 10 years , if diclofenac is not effectively and completely banned from veterinary use, to kill vultures there are some other causes such as advertent poisoning for killing of other animals , collision and electrocution , Injury from kite threads particularly seen in Gujarat during annual kite festival and chicks falling from nest , but these play a minor role .

 

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