Bengal Forest Department’s unique initiative to increase vulture population

Kolkata, Feb 11: With the vulture population in West Bengal decreasing at a very fast pace, the state Forest Department has undertaken an unique initiative to increase the population of these nature’s scavengers.

According to a Forest Department official, the unique method will be applied at the state government-run vulture breeding centre at Rajabhatkhawa in Alipurduar district.Bengal Forest Department's unique initiative to increase vulture population

“This unique method of breeding is the double clutching system. Generally, the female vulture lays one egg in a year, which is a major reason for the decline in the vulture population. But under the double clutching system, the first egg she lays will be taken away and stored in an incubator. This will prompt the female vulture to lay the second egg and in this process, the breeding count will be doubled,” the official said.

He said that there is a similar artificial vulture breeding centre at Haryana’s Pinjore, which was the first to adopt this double clutching system to increase the vulture population there. “This was a great success story and inspired by them the state Forest Department has decided to adopt a similar process at the Rajabhatkhawa vulture breeding centre. Dialogues have started with the experts in the field at Pinjore to get technical assistance on this count,” the official said.

On Friday only, the state Forest Department released 20 endangered species of vultures into the wild. Out of the 20 vultures released, 13 were oriental white-backed vultures, while remaining seven were Himalayan griffon vultures. While the oriental white-backed vultures were bred at the Rajabhatkhawa vulture breeding centre, the Himalayan griffon vultures were rescued from time to time.