Status of Critically Endangered Vultures in Dang Deukhuri Foothill Forests and West Rapti Wetlands
Vultures play a highly important ecological role through the rapid consumption of animal carcasses. Of 22 vulture species in the world, eight species are found in Nepal. The study was carried out in Dang Deukhuri valley with objectives of assessing present population status of critically endangered vultures and conservation threats to these vultures. To study population status, direct survey and repeated absolute count methods were used; population size estimated through Jacknife technique; nest occupancy determined by nest census method. Similarly, interview/household surveys were conducted to assess the present food availability and livestock condition; conservation threats to vultures. The range of absolute population size of the critically endangered vultures; Gyps bengalensis, Gyps tenuirostris and Sarcogyps calvus were found 44, 21 and 18 respectively in Dang Deukhuri valley. The major threat to vultures is diclofenac contamination of livestock carcasses and other threats are habitat destruction, disturbance & hunting, lack of awareness, food shortage, poisoning and pesticide use in the area.
The Initiation Vol.4 2011 28-34