In the first-ever release of endangered species of vultures eight vultures from the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre in Panchkula, Haryana was released into the wild after deploying satellite transmitters to study their ranging behaviour.
The Centre approved of the project, following which the Haryana Forest Department deposited the required fee with the Union Ministry of Telecommunication.
The frequencies on which the satellites will operate will be issued soon.
Vultures hold immense ecological, economic, social and religious importance, and act as natural scavengers. However, as their population started declining rapidly in the 1990s, Haryana became the first State to initiate a programme for their conservation and reintroduction into the wild.
On June 3, 2016, the then Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Haryana Chief Minister initiated reintroduction of vultures into the wild from the centre that houses 226 birds of three critically-endangered resident Gyps vultures, namely white-backed vulture ( Gyps africanus ), long-billed vulture ( Gyps indicus ) and slender-billed vulture ( Gyps tenuirostris ).
The centre, the first-of-its-kind in Asia, was set up in 2001 in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society. Since then, it has mastered the technique of double clutching and artificial incubation, and managed to almost double the productivity of vultures.
The centre also found that veterinary drug Diclofenac was a major cause of the crash in vulture population. Vultures get exposed to the drug while feeding on the carcass of cattle treated with the drug before death.