In a first, radio tags help trace migratory routes of Himalayan Griffon vultures

In February, officials at Madhya Pradesh's Panna Tiger Reserve radio-tagged various species of vultures including the Himalayan Griffon vultures which are native to the Tibetan region. The radio-tagging efforts have bore fruits as the migratory routes pursued by these airborne scavengers has been traced in an unprecedented achievement. Details here.

Arun SinghArun Singh   12 April 2022 1:07 PM GMT

In a first, radio tags help trace migratory routes of Himalayan Griffon vultures

These vultures are vital for the ecosystem as they feed on the dead and decaying animals and help in maintaining hygiene deep within the forests.

Panna (Madhya Pradesh)

Two months after forest officials at Madhya Pradesh's Panna Tiger Reserve radio-tagged some species of vultures who seasonally migrate to the Indian forests from foreign countries, the migratory routes of two of the Himalayan Griffon vultures have been traced.

The two migratory birds have been located near Shigatse city in China's Tibet, which is almost more than 1,500 kilometres away from the forests of Panna.

Uttam Kumar Sharma, the area manager of the tiger reserve told Gaon Connection that the information obtained from the mapping of the migratory routes of these vultures is essential for the management of these bird species which is categorised as 'near threatened' on the official list released by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

"We have been tracking these vultures for almost 60 days now, what we have found is fascinating about their migratory behaviour. These vultures crossed over the forest of Madhya Pradesh, reached Bihar, then headed northwards towards Nepal. It is for the first time that the migratory routes of these birds have been traced," Sharma told Gaon Connection.

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"We had tagged two Himalayan Griffons. One of the birds which is tagged as HG_ 8673 flew over the Himalayas in Nepal and passed through Sagarmatha National Park around Mount Everest before entering Tibet and is presently resting in China's Shigatse city. In total, HG_ 8673 has travelled a distance of about 7,500 kilometres in 60 days," Sharma added.

The official informed that the other vulture which was radio-tagged as HG_8677 has been found to have been resting in Nepal's Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.

Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy, a retired field director of the Panna Tiger Reserve told Gaon Connection that the radio-tagging exercise is a significant achievement for the conservation efforts of the threatened species.

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"I have been waiting for such a research to be conducted for a long time, I am happy that the forest officials have accomplished this feat. It will surely benefit the research community in devising techniques and undertaking measures needed to conserve these vultures," he said.

These vultures are vital for the ecosystem as they feed on the dead and decaying animals and help in maintaining hygiene deep within the forests.

However, disruptions in their natural habitats have led to an alarming decline in their numbers. As per the data provided by the officials at the reserve, a total of 722 vultures were recorded here in 2020-21. A total of 1,774 vultures were found across the district and 9,408 vultures were recorded in Madhya Pradesh.

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