IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th June, 2023 Environment

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  • A total of 20 vultures were brought to MadhyaPradesh from Vulture Conservation Centre in Kerwa from Pinjore in Haryana on June 24, 2023.
  • It included five males, five females and 10 sub adult vultures.
  • The initiative is expected to improve the population of species in the state.


  • In MadhyaPradesh, white-rumped vultures were in abundance during 1990s.
  • However their population declined by 90% by 2005-06.
  • The main culprit was the exposure to diclofenac, which was extensively used for treatment of cattle.

White rumped Vulture

  • It is also known as Gyps Bengalensis, and is one of the 9 species of Indian vulture which are identified for protection.
  • They are medium in size and called white humped due to presence of white patch of feathers on the lower back and upper tail.

Habitat and distribution

  • They are generally found in Indian subcontinent and the regions of south east Asia such as Thailand, Laos.
  • They are more commonly found in the Indus valley and along the Himalayas to Assam valley.
  • They are found in variety of landscapes including hilly regions and Plains near human settlements.

Conservation Status

  • They are categorized as critically endangered species as per IUCN.
  • They are listed under schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.


  • Prime reason for decline - Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for cattle treatment – for eg
  • Habitat degradation and fragmentation.
  • Loss of foraging range.
  • Reduced availability of
  • Instances of electrocutions due to encounter with power lines.

Measures Taken

  • Mass education and awareness programme are being undertaken for sensitizing about their significance.
  • Involvement of local communities to report injured vulture to authorities.
  • In 2006, Project Vulture was launched by Government of India in an effort to save vultures.
  • Also various Vulture Captive Care facility and Vulture care centres have been established.
  • There is a prohibition on manufacture of Diclofenac for animal use.
  • A National Action Plan (2006) on Vulture Conservation has been formulated.

Benefits to human and Environment

  • Regulation of stray dog population.
  • They are known to be scavengers who, by eating the dead carcass -
    • Keep a check on the spread of disease like rabies, anthrax.
    • Help in avoiding the risk of water contamination.
  • They keep the environment clean.
  • They help in sustainability of customs such as Towers of Silence.

Tower of Silence

It is a traditional custom/practice of the Parsis. After death of a person they place the dead in the structure called ‘Towers of Silence’. Vultures can feed upon the body.

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Vultures help in keeping environment clean. Their declining population can pose a risk to human health. Discuss in context of White humped vulture. Also mention the initiatives taken by government to conserve the population of vultures. (250 words)