Vulture count on a rise thanks to Asiatic Lions

Vulture population may be on a decline across Gujarat but the number of these fast diminishing scavengers has surprisingly risen in Bhanvnagar (Gujarat, India) and Amreli districts (Gujarat, India). Interestingly, it is the lions that are helping these endangered birds make this region their permanent habitat.

The number of vultures in the 70-km coastal stretch from Mahua-Rajula-Nageshree (Gujarat, India) has steadily increased from an all time low of 87 in 2010 to 134 in 2013. In fact, the extremely rare Eurasian Griffon specie of vultures that were only winter visitors of Mahuva, are now seen throughout the year.

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Besides serious conservation efforts and people’s awareness, wildlife experts also attribute the increase to the presence of large number of lions in the revenue land in this region. Vultures feast on the animals that have been preyed upon by lions.

“Since these lions are out of forests area, they mostly kill domestic cattle and feed on them in open fields. Moreover, these animals are untreated and not administered Diclofenac, which is the sole reason for vulture’s decline. This helps vultures to have a healthy food chain, a critical aspect for their survival,” said Ruchi Dave, honorary wildlife warden, Bhavnagar district (Gujarat, India).

Recently, wildlife enthusiasts spotted 25 endangered vultures including two Eurasian Griffons, feedin on the carcass left behind by an Asiatic Lion near Rajula in Amreli District (Gujarat, India).

“Few days ago mi spotted eight vultures feasting on an animal killed by Lions. Such a sight is quite common now”. Said Jasubhai Mobh, a Maldhari living in Mobh Nesh near Khambha.

Lions are in good numbers in Mahuva, Rajula, Khambha, Jafrabad and Savarkundla (Gujarat, India) area and most of them are out of protected forest area. “There are over 75 lions in his 70 km area and most of them are in revenue area. We have often seen vultures eating the lion’s kill in these areas,” said Vipul Laheri, honorary wildlife warden, Amreli (Gujarat, India).

Notably, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has selected the Mahuva area as one of the six provisional Vultures’ safe Zone on the country.

Lions’ presence in this ‘vulture’ zone has helped these birds stay put. “Eurasian Griffon vultures have been observed throughout the year, which indicated that this area is non-disturbed habitat for vultures,” Dave said.

Courtesy:- Times of India. 

 

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