WILDLIFE: Wild plan for vultures born in captivity

WILDLIFE: Wild plan for vultures born in captivity – ugly but very, very necessary ?!!

File picture of vultures at the centre in Pinjore - cleaning mankind's waste ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY AVIJIT SINHA

Siliguri, July 11: The Bombay Natural History Society is inching towards releasing the first set of vultures from the three captive breeding centres of the country, one of which is in Jalpaiguri’s Rajabhatkhaowa.

The BNHS authorities said about 18 fledglings have been bred at the centres till now, including two in Rajabhatkhaowa.

The two other centres where vultures are bred are at Pinjore in Haryana and in Assam.

The conservation and captive-breeding programme was taken up by the BNHS along with the state forest departments after many of the birds died in south Asia in the late 1990s. Researchers had confirmed that one of the major causes of the death was the presence of a drug, diclofenac, in the carcass of cattle that the birds fed on.

The project that began at the three centres in 2007 is being funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UK, and the Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species, also based in UK.

“In 2009-10 we could artificially incubate eggs in Pinjore,” said Vibhu Prakash, the head of the BNHS project.

The units have three species of vultures — slender-billed, white-backed and long-billed.

Sachin Ranade, the manager of the centre in Rajabhatkhaowa, said: “We plan to release 50 vultures in the wild in the first phase. We have fixed a target of releasing 100 pairs of each species later on.”

“These birds have been either bred in captivity or through artificial incubation. Currently, there are 81 vultures in Rajabhatkhaowa, while in Pinjore there are 136 birds,” said Atul Sathe, public relations officer of the society.

He said, during 2009-10, three eggs of the long-billed vultures were artificially incubated at Pinjore. “It took 57 days to incubate. An injured bird rescued from Ahmedabad had laid an egg after few days it was brought to the centre. The egg was successfully hatched after 55 days,” he added.

He said the experts were now planning to adopt the double clutch process at Pinjore to increase the productivity of the birds. “The process involves artificially incubating the first egg laid by a bird. Vultures usually lay eggs again after three-four weeks. The second egg will be incubated by the birds. This way, two nestlings can be produced by a pair of vultures annually.”

MEANWHILE

Three Red Panda cubs born in captivity in Sikkim expansion to other zoos ?!!

Red Panda - foxy cute ?!!

From Zee News

Gangtok: Three cubs have been born in captivity to Red Pandas, the state animal of Sikkim, at Himalayan Zoological Park here taking the total of the arboreal mammals to an impressive eleven.

Another female Red Panda is pregnant and is expected to give birth soon, zoo authorities said.

The three cubs were born on June 3 and June 20, Himalayan Zoological Park additional director Gut Lepcha said.

The Red Panda figures in Schedule One of the Wildlife Protection Act because of its dwindling population both in the wild and in captivity.

He said that captive breeding had started with a pair of Red Pandas in 1999. Later two more Red Pandas rescued from the wild had joined the captive breeding programme.

“We are having good results of late. Last year two cubs were born,” Lepcha said.

“We also exchanged Red Pandas with the Darjeeling Zoological Park to prevent in-breeding,” he said.

“Our zoo will have to take the initiative for the breeding programme for these mammals while the Darjeeling Zoological Park will be the participating zoo, said Lepcha.

“We have already submitted a master plan for the Himalayan Zoological Park to the Central Zoo Authority to develop breeding centres, other facilities and infrastructure costing around Rs. 29 crore last year,” said Lepcha.

He said that eight percent of the project components have received clearance from the Central Zoo Authority.

The Red Pandas at the Himalayan Zoological Park live in three separate enclosures. Earlier they were kept in a single 1440 square metre enclosure.

“We will develop two more enclosures,” said the additional director.

The Himalayan Zoological Park has also been designated by the Central Zoo Authority as the coordinating zoo for captive breeding of three Himalayan wildlife species, — Blood Pheasant, the State Bird of Sikkim, Himalayan Tahr and Blue Sheep, all of which were endangered, said Lepcha.

The Himalayan Zoological Park is located at an altitude of 5840 ft spread over 230 hectare of mountainous land with terrain suitable for high altitude animals and birds.

It at present has 52 different species of birds and animals like Red Panda and Tibetan Wolf.

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