The Return of the Nature’s Guard: Endangered Vulture’s Population on Rise in Rajaji National Park, North India

Joshi Ritesh
Out of the total nine species of vultures reported from the Indian sub-continent, six (Neophron percnopterus, Aegypius monachus, Sarcogyps calvus, Gyps bengalensis, Gyps indicus and Gyps himalayensis) were observed from Rajaji National Park, north India. The population of all the vultures was found to be stable except for Himalayan griffon, which was frequently observed in different altitudinal locations of the park. All the species were observed in small flocks (c 2–17) whereas only Himalayan griffon was observed in big flocks (c 3–38). Remarkably red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture were continuously sighted, which were considered to be critically endangered species. A rise in vulture’s population was observed since 2007 and all the reported six species were seen on seasonal basis. Among six, three species are altitudinal migrant and three are resident however their ecological studies are still required, which would be helpful in knowing their population status, feeding requirements and range utilization. A ground–based strategy cum action plan is also needed to be documented and implemented so that we can ensure the endangered vulture’s survival in Rajaji National Park.
Vulture; Rajaji National Park; Status; Conservation; North India
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