The status of vultures in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, central India

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Balasubramaniam Navaneethan
Kalyanasundaram Sankar
Qamar Qureshi
Manas Manjrekar

Abstract

The study on the status of vultures in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BRT), central India was carried out from January 2011 to March 2013 in different seasons using opportunistic sightings.  In total, 265 observations were made in which 1,366 individuals belonging to four species were recorded.  Among these, Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus were more frequently sighted followed by White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus, Red-headed Vulture or Asian King Vulture Sarcogyps calvus and Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus.  During the study period, 27 vulture nests were identified, of these 25 nests belonged to  Long-billed Vulture and two nests were that os White-backed Vulture.  No attempts were made to examine the nesting site characteristics and the breeding status of vulture in BTR. Vultures were largely observed feeding on carnivore kills such as chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, domestic cattle and common langur. On a few occasions vultures were seen feeding on the dumped cattle carcasses near villages.  The study reveals that vulture population in BTR was mainly dependent on large carnivore kills.  Regular monitoring of vulture nest sites in the study area is recommended to assess their breeding success.  Since we observed the vultures feeding on dumped livestock carcasss near villages, use of Diclofenac in the villages around the park should be monitored as it has caused a large-scale mortality in vultures in different regions of the country. 

 

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