A Cinereous vulture ( Aegypius monachus), which was found stranded near Asaripallam in Nagercoil town of Kanniyakumari district during the Ockhi cyclone in December 2017, is set to be released in Keru, Rajasthan, after nearly five years of rehabilitation and care.
Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday said the vulture is completely fit to be released into the wild from Keru site in Machia Biological Park with a GPS-GSM tag with the assistance of Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
The tagging and release in the wild of a vulture by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department is being attempted for the very first time, according to her.
Tamil Nadu Forest Department staff rescued the vulture and gave proper veterinary care. The bird was kept in Udhayagiri biodiversity park in Udhayagiri Fort of Kanniyakumari district.
Ms. Sahu said the vulture has completely recovered and grown into an adult vulture following the sincere efforts and adequate care provided by the field staff. The Keru site located in Machia Biological Park was chosen for the release of the rehabilitated vulture not only because of the presence of other Cinereous vultures but also due to ready availability of food.
Permission has been obtained from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan, for this soft release in Machia Biological Park, she added.
The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has taken steps to transport the vulture under assistance of a qualified veterinary team for the release.
Out of nine vulture species found in India, four namely White-backed vulture, Long-billed vulture, Egyptian vulture and Red-headed vulture are residents in places like the Moyar valley in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. Vultures are found in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, too. Three species such as Eurasian griffon vulture, Himalayan griffon vulture and Cinereous vulture visit the Nilgiris according to experts.
Cinereous vulture is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.