Monday, February 14, 2011

First vulture chick born at Sakkarbaug zoo

First vulture chick born at Sakkarbaug zoo
Times of India By Vijaysinh Parmar

In a significant development for the conservation of the endangered white backed vultures, the Sakkarbaug zoo here has succeeded in breeding vultures in captivity. A chick was born at the zoo's Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre on February 1.

According to zoo director V J Rana this is good news for the species which faces extinction. Sakkarbaug is one of the five captive vulture breeding centres in the country.

The vulture breeding aviary was started in the zoo in April 2009 with 43 vultures and this is the first chick to be born. "We have created all the required facilities at the centre such as artificial nesting sites and trees. We maintained its food habits regularly and success came after one-and-a-half years,'' Rana said.

Forest officials say that only Pinjore Vulture Breeding Centre in Haryana has succeeded in breeding vultures in captivity. "We have been closely monitoring the chick and its mother and are hopeful of further other eggs hatching as well. November to March is considered as breeding seasons for the vulture.

Among the 43 vultures here are the white backed vulture, long billed vultures and Egyptian vultures, which have been rescued from various parts of the state such as Ahmedabad, Rajula, Bajana, Surat, Gandhinagar Dhrangdhra, Vyara, Amreli, Morbi and Junagadh. "Most of these vultures were injured by kite strings during the kite festival,'' said Rana.

Conservationists say that the major cause for the decline of vulture population is the veterinary drug, Diclofenac, which are most widely used veterinary pain killers.

Sakkarbaug zoo is known for its conservation programmes. Currently, the zoo is running conservation and breeding programmes for the Asiatic lion, vultures, Indian wolf, Indian wild ass, Asiatic cheetah and the four-horned antelope with aid from the Central Zoo Authority of India.

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