In response to the declining population of vultures in Maharashtra, efforts are now underway to conserve these majestic birds. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Haryana government have granted permission to relocate 20 pairs (40 birds) of vultures from Pinjore to Maharashtra.
The special feature of this initiative is that each of the two species, the White-rumped and the Long-billed vultures, will be released in six different Melghat regions. The state government had made a request for the vulture relocation to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in Haryana. Accordingly, a green flag has been given, and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) will be involved in capturing the birds.
The establishment of Vulture Breeding and Conservation Centers in Pune and Nashik is already underway, although it will take some time to complete. Once the infrastructure is ready, a proposal will be submitted to the Central Zoo Authority for approval. After obtaining the necessary permissions, the birds will undergo GPS tagging before their release.
The BNHS has successfully increased the population of more than 700 vultures from the early stages. As part of their conservation efforts for resident avifauna, they have carefully determined the desired number of birds in their natural habitats. Maharashtra has been chosen to receive these birds as part of this program.
Recently, the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests has granted permission to provide 10 pairs (20 birds) of vultures to Madhya Pradesh. Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal will be their new home as part of the breeding and conservation program.
Funding for the vulture conservation project is received from the respective state governments as well as from the central government. The state government receives funding directly from the centre. The project’s primary objective is to breed vultures in captivity and release them into the wild. Once released, the birds will be monitored through GPS tagging by the BNHS. Around 20 pairs of vultures are expected to be relocated to Maharashtra as part of this initiative.