In the year 2015, it came to notice that the White-backed vulture population was stable but the Long-billed vultures were still declining.
There has been a sharp decline in the population of vultures in India since the 1990s. By the year 2007, India saw a 99% decline in 3 gipsy species of vultures. The population stabilized in 2011 but was still small in size. In the year 2015, it came to notice that the white-backed vulture population was stable but the long-billed vultures were still declining. Babul Supriyo, Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change told the Lok Sabha during question hour that following steps were taken by the government to preserve vultures:
- The Protection status of White-backed, Long-Billed and Slender Billed Vultures was upgraded from Schedule IV to Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
- To conserve the remaining population of vultures in the country and also to facilitate the reintroduction of vultures into the wild from Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres (VCBCs), attempts to create Vulture Safe Zones in the areas are being made
- Eight identified vulture safe zones in the country are being made including Pinjore in Haryana, Rajabhatkhawa in West Bengal, around Majuli Island in Assam, Bukswaha in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Dudhwa National Park and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, Central Gujarat and Saurashtra in Gujarat
- Initiatives to strengthen the mass education and awareness for vulture conservation in the country are also being taken up
- A 2006 National Action Plan on vulture conservation
- The government has banned the veterinary use of the drug ‘Diclofenac’ which is the cause of vulture mortality
- Restricting of the packaging size of the human formulation of the diclofenac drug to 3ml in July 2015 to prevent the misuse of multi-dose vials available in 30 ml
- Department of forests of all states/UTs have been requested to constitute a Monitoring Committee for vulture conservation with a view to implementing the Action Plan, 2006 and for recovery of existing vulture sites
- The Ministry has also given the green light to the Vulture reintroduction programme
- The Ministry has reconstituted the “National Vulture Recovery Committee” to oversee and guide vulture conservation and recovery efforts
- Testing of “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs” (NSAID’s) on Vultures has been carried out by Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI)
- The species has also been identified for conservation efforts under the component ‘Species Recovery Programme’ of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) – Development of Wildlife Habitat
The above response was given to an unstarred question asked by Pratima Mondal, a Member of the parliament in the 17th Lok Sabha from Jaynagar his Lok Sabha constituency. The MP had asked whether the Government is aware that vultures are close to extinction in the country; if so, the details thereof and the steps taken to protect them. The response was given on November 22, 2019.