Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), which is home to the last of the surviving vultures in the state, has added to its vulture diversity with the rare sighting of the cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) or Eurasian black vulture, for the first time in the sanctuary. The large broad-winged vulture, which is normally found in its Eurasian habitats with its range extending to North India, is very rarely seen in the south of Vindhyas. According to state forest department, the bird was once observed near Pathanamthitta as a straggler and was shifted to the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. Wayanad Wildlife Warden N T Sajan said the bird was found at Tholpetty forest range three days ago. "We found the sub-adult bird, which is around two years of age, near the carcass of a wild gaur. In the next day also the bird came to feed on the carcass," Vishnu Omanakuttan, conservation biologist at the WWS who spotted the bird, said. Currently, WWS is the only area in the state with a breeding population of two critically-endangered vulture species in the state. A survey held in 2015-16 had recorded 12 red-headed vultures (Sarcogyps calvus) and over 50 white-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis). "It is the first time that a cinereous vulture has been sighted in the region and it has high significance. Apart from the breeding population of red- headed vultures and white- rumped vultures, the vulture species previously sighted sporadically in the sanctuary include Egyptian vulture and Himalayan griffon vulture," ornithologist CK Vishnudas who has studied extensively about vultures in the landscape, said. According to IUCN red list, the cinereous vulture is classified as 'near threatened' with a global population estimated to be around 7,800-10,500 pairs. It is one of the largest Old World vultures and adult birds can grow to 98- 107 cm. The species has a moderately small population which appears to be suffering an ongoing decline in its Asiatic strongholds, despite the fact that in parts of Europe numbers are now increasing. According to Vishnu, a cinereous vulture was sighted in the Nagarahole tiger reserve in Karnataka in 2016. The forest department is implementing a Rs 58 lakh project using central funds for the conservation of the vulture population in Wayanad.
Created On : 10th January 2018 - 07:05 PM   by - Copyright © EverythingWayanad. All Rights Reserved.