Himalayan Vultures in Khodpe, far-west Nepal: is there any threat?

Main Article Content

Manoj Kumar Joshi
Mukesh Kumar Chalise
Anand Chaudhary
Hem Bahadur Katuwal


There is evidence that Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis is susceptible to the veterinary drug diclofenac, which is responsible for the decline of other Gyps species across South Asia.  Unlike other Gyps species, there is little quantitative data to assess Himalayan Vultures population.  Based on observation, we analyzed the flock size and breeding success of the Himalayan Vultures on two cliffs of Khodpe in Baitadi District, far-west Nepal.  The mean flock size of Himalayan Vulture was 25.83±6.33.  Overall breeding success was 90.9% based on active nests.  We also conducted a questionnaire survey to assess the perceived threats in the view of local people to vultures and these threats include loss of food, veterinary drug, lack of proper nest sites, and lack of public awareness.  Additionally, 76% of the respondents felt that vultures were decreasing in the area, 94.7% were not aware of the toxicity of diclofenac to vultures, and very few (2%) knew about the availability of meloxicam as a safe alternative drug.  The colony we studied is one of the few remaining known breeding populations, which provide baseline information from far-west Nepal, thus we recommend for conservation and continuous monitoring of this species to understand their population change and breeding biology.


Article Details

Short Communications


Acharya, R., R. Cuthbert, H.S. Baral & K.B. Shah (2009). Rapid population declines of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Bird Conservation International 19: 99–107.

Baral, H.S., J.B. Giri, H. Choudhary, S. Basnet, R. Watson & M. Virani (2002). Surveys of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in the Nepalese Himalayas. Report submitted to The Peregrine Fund, USA.

BCN & DNPWC (2011). The State of Nepal’s Birds 2010. Bird Conservation Nepal and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Kathmandu.

Bhusal, K.P. (2014). Exploratory Vulture Survey in Jajarkot District of Nepal. Final Report Submitted to Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN)

Bhusal, K.P. (2011). Population status and breeding success of Himalayan Griffon, Egyptian Vulture and Lammergeier in Gherabhir, Arghakhanchi, Nepal. MSc Thesis. Submitted to Central

Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

BirdLife International (2014). Gyps himalayensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version.2014.3.

. Downloaded on 30 December 2014.

Bowden, C. (2009). The Asian Gyps vulture crisis: the role of captive breeding in India to prevent total extinction. Birding Asia 12: 121–123.

Chaudhary, A., T.R. Subedi, J.B. Giri, H.S. Baral, B. Bidari, H. Subedi, B. Chaudhary, I. Chaudhary, K. Paudel & R.J. Cuthbert (2011). Population trends of Critically Endangered Gyps vultures in the lowlands of Nepal. Bird Conservation International 1–9; http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270911000426

Cuthbert, R, M.A. Taggart, V. Prakash, M. Saini, D. Swarup, S. Upreti, R. Mateo, S.S. Chakraborty, P. Deori & R.E. Green (2011). Effectiveness of action in India to reduce exposure of Gyps vultures to the toxic veterinary drug diclofenac. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19069; http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019069

Cuthbert, R., V. Prakash, C. Bowden, D. Das, R. Green. Y. Jhala, D. Pain, K.R. Senacha, N. Shah & M.A. Taggart (2009). Role of veterinary diclofenac in decline of vulture populations in South Asia. Journal of Veterinary Medicine 29(2): 80–85.

Das, D., R.J. Cuthbert, R.D. Jakati & V. Prakash (2010). Diclofenac is toxic to the Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis. Bird Conservation International 1-4;


DeRoder, E.F. (1989). The migration of raptors south of Annapurna, Nepal, autumn 1985. Forktail 4: 9–17.

DHM (2011). Data accessed from Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Babar Mahal, Kathmandu.

DNPWC (2015). Vulture Conservation Action Plan for Nepal (2015–2019). Department of National Parks and Willdife Conservation, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu.

Green, R.E., I. Newton, S. Shultz, A.A. Cunningham, M. Gilbert, D.J. Pain & V. Prakash (2004). Diclofenac poisoning as a cause of vulture population declines across the Indian subcontinent. Journal of Applied Ecology 41: 793–800.

Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (2000). Birds of Nepal. Helm Field Guide. Prakash Books, New Delhi.

Gurung, S.B., S. Gurung, S. Gurung & K. McCarty (2004). Autumn 2003 raptor migration in Central Nepal. International Hawkwatcher 9: 12–15.

Harris, R.J. (2013). The conservation of Accipitridae vultures of Nepal: a review. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(2): 3603–3619; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2816.3603-19

Karmacharya, D.K. (2011). Population, breeding success and conservation of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in Khodpe, Baitadi, Nepal. Danphe 20(1): 5–8.

Khan, U. & C. Murn (2011). Gyps Vulture restoration project - role of captive breeding In endangered species management. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 21(2): 405–409.

Lu, X., D. Ke, X. Zeng, G. Gong & R. Ci (2009). Status, ecology and conservation of the Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis (Aves, Accipitridae) in the Tibetan plateau. Ambio 38(3): 166–173.

Newton, P., N.V. Thai, S. Roberton & D. Bell (2008). Pangolins in peril: using local hunters’ knowledge to conserve elusive species in Vietnam. Endangered Species Research 6(1): 41–53.

Pain, D.J., C.G.R. Bowden, A.A. Cunningham, R. Cuthbert, D. Das, M. Gilbert, R.D. Jakati, Y. Jhala, A.A. Khan, V. Naidoo, J.L. Oaks, J. Parry-Jones, V. Prakash, A. Rahmani, S.P. Ranadi, H.S. Baral, K.R. Senacha, S. Saravanan, N. Shah, G. Swan, D. Swarup, M.A. Taggarat, R.T. Watson, M.Z. Virani, K. Wolter & R.E. Green (2008). The race to prevent the extinction of South Asian vultures. Bird Conservation International 18: S30–S48;


Paudel, K., T. Amano, R. Acharya, A. Chaudhary, H.S. Baral, K.P. Bhusal, I.P. Chaudhary, R.E. Green, R.J. Cuthbert & T.H. Galligan (2015). Population trends in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang, Nepal, before and after the ban on diclofenac. Bird Conservation International http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270915000192

Phuyal, S. (2012). Status of the vulture and conservation attitudes of the people towards vultures in Ramechhap District. MSc Thesis. Submitted to Central Department of Environment Science, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Postupalsky, S. (1974). Raptors reproductive success: some problem with method, criteria and terminology. pp. 21–31. In: Hamerstrom, F.N., Jr., B.E. Harell & R.R. Olendorff, eds. Management of raptors: Proceedings of the conference on raptor conservation techniques. Fort Collins, CO: Raptor Research Foundation (Raptor Research Reports 2).

Prakash, V., R.E. Green, D.J. Pain, S.P. Ranade, S. Saravanan, N. Prakash, R. Venkitachalam, R. Cuthbert, A.R. Rahmani & A.A. Cunningham (2007). Recent changes in populations of resident Gyps vultures in India. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 104: 129–135.

R Development Core Team (2012). R: A language and environment for statistical computing version 2.15.2. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Viena, Austria. (http://www.R-project.org).

Subedi, T., S. Gurun, H.J. Smit, V. Zembal & R. DeCandido (2013). Raptor migration summary. Nepal-autumn 2012.

Thakur, M.L. (2014). Breeding records and recent population trends of Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis Hume) in Himachal Pradesh, India. American Journal of Research Communication 2(3): 141–152.

Tyabji, H. (2006). A vulture congregation in Pokhara, Nepal. Indian Birds 2(2): 36–37.

Virani, M.Z., J.B. Giri, R.T. Watson & H.S. Baral (2008). Survey of Himalayan Vultures (Gyps himalayensis) in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Mustang, Nepal. Journal of Raptor Research 42(3): 197–203