A survey of White-rumped Vultures Gyps bengalensis in Gujarat State, India
During this study, ten districts of Gujarat State, India, were surveyed to collect information on the abundance and activity patterns of White-rumped Vultures (WRV) Gyps bengalensis. In total, 212 WRVs were recorded during 46 sightings. The highest number was documented in Kachchh district (119), followed by Ahmedabad (32), Mehsana (28), Banaskantha (10), Anand (9), Nadiad (8) and Rajpipla (3) districts, and one each were recorded in the Surendranagar, Dang and Vadodara districts. The high population in Kachchh district could be attributed to the vultures\' preference of arid zone habitats, limited human activity, sufficient food and suitable perching/roosting/nesting sites. During the field survey, 73.1% of the vultures were found soaring, 13.7% were perching on trees and/or the ground, while 13.2% were observed feeding on carcasses. The present study suggests that regular monitoring of the vulture population, determination of diet, creation of awareness amongst the local people, initiation of genetic and pathological studies, implementation of supplementary feeding programmes, a complete ban on the use of the veterinary drug ‘Diclofenac\', establishment of vulture care and rescue centers, and incentives for local people involved in the conservation of their local vulture population, should immediately be implemented to save the remnant population of vultures from imminent extinction. To safeguard the existing vulture populations, the illegal cutting and lopping of nesting tree species must be halted, a captive breeding programme must be established, and systematic, in-depth and long-term monitoring programmes must be initiated.
Vulture News Vol. 57 2007: pp. 32-43