Vultures, their population status and some ecological aspects in an Indian stronghold

  • Kaushalendra K. JHA Indian Institute of Forest Management, Technical Forestry, Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Environment Management Unit, Nehru Nagar, Bhopal, MP 462003
  • Michael O. CAMPBELL Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr, Burnabay, BC V5A 1S6
  • Radhika JHA Lucknow University, Zoology Department, University Road, Lucknow
Keywords: abundance; conservation; central India; habitat; vulture species

Abstract

Indian vultures have important ecological and socio-economic functions and are increasingly studied, per their ecological role and recently, their catastrophic populations’ decline. However, there are few studies of vultures in central India, a vulture stronghold. The present paper examined the presence, distribution per landcover variation, roosting and nesting habits of vultures in this region. Both quantitative (total count) and qualitative (questionnaire survey) methods of research were applied. The hypotheses were that vulture presence is higher in forested areas, unaffected by agricultural development (excepting the Egyptian vulture); as well as that vultures are more likely to roost and nest in large trees and on cliffs in open landcover. Vulture species recorded in summer and winter counts were the Long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus, Scopoli, 1786), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus, Linnaeus, 1758), White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis, Gmelin, 1788), Eurasian Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus, Hablizl, 1783), Red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus, Scopoli, 1786), Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus, Linnaeus, 1766) and Himalayan Griffon vulture (Gyps himalayensis, Hume, 1869). Their average total abundance was of 7,028 individuals, maximum being Long-billed vulture (3,351) and minimum being Cinereous vulture (39). Thematic maps documented distributions in different agroclimatic regions and ecozones. Orography and forest structure influenced vulture presence, but human disturbance did not. Vulture protection, food monitoring and human-induced disturbances are manageable with critical, informed and flexible policies. These findings contribute to monitoring and management planning for vulture conservation in Central India and elsewhere.

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Published
2020-03-31
How to Cite
JHA, K. K., CAMPBELL, M. O., & JHA, R. (2020). Vultures, their population status and some ecological aspects in an Indian stronghold. Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 12(1), 124-142. https://doi.org/10.15835/nsb12110547
Section
Research articles