A hope for not just good vulture population, but also revival of species started this week on a pleasant note, as the first sighting of Red-Headed vulture in Mhow, Indore was recorded by bird watchers.
The Red-Headed vulture was spotted in the Malendi Patalpani area by Brigadier Arvind Yadav, Dev Kumar Vasudevan and Shantanu Thada.
The trio shared that it is the first recorded sighting in Mhow tehsil and Indore district. “So far only Egyptian vultures have been seen in Mhow tehsil and Indore district,” they said.
The trio had ventured on an unplanned birding trip, where they sighted the rare species of vulture.
Yadav has previously spotted and recorded 14 new species for Indore district since June 2020. Other than being an army officer, he is a wildlife photographer and lover.
He said, “Red-Headed vulture is one of the worst victims of diclofenac. From millions in 90s, it came to thousands in 2000 and few hundred in 2007 when it was listed to Critically Endangered in IUCN Red List.”
He explained that diclofenac medicine is used to treat pain and inflammation in cows and other animals. “Once ingested, traces remain permanently in the animal, when carcasses are eaten by vultures. The drug traces affect the kidney and liver of vultures. In 20 years, six species reduced from 4 crore to 4000. Biggest unnatural catastrophe,” Yadav said.
He added that though the drug is banned by government of India, but the ban is not implemented in letter and spirit. “It’s available openly without prescription and vet doctors are prescribing regularly,” Yadav said.
There are alternative drugs available that are not dangerous but lack of awareness and control is causing this
They also saw Indian Paradise Flycatchers (male and females).