December Report – Vulture Conservation Program

Vulture Conservation Program

Awareness and Monitoring

December 2010 Report

1 June 2010 was the official start of Mahseer Conservancy’s 2010/2011 vulture programme.  The following report is a summary of the work undertaken during the month of December 2010.  This report is the seventh of a series of monthly reports made throughout the year.

1.Monitoring of vulture colonies

Unfortunately no monitoring of the vulture colonies occurred over December 2010.  Casual visits to Ringora Village, however, has shown that the birds are still there in good numbers (we counted 19 on one visit), and there are several birds sitting in nests – a hopeful sign since this is their breeding season.

Unfortunately one of the Vultures died due to Diclofenac, the carcass was sent for post – mortem to D. Vibhu Prakash, B.N.H.S, Pinjore.

We are still looking for monitoring staff for both the Ringora and Tumeria colonies, and hope to have these in place shortly.

2.Ban of the ‘over the counter’ sale of Diclofenac

We are currently consulting relevant experts on how best to proceed with our drive to ban over the counter sales of Diclofenac. Recently we have an increase in out field staff. 5 more people have joined this project.

3.Diclofenac Presence Survey

Our field staff has been covering the landscape again in December, with impressive coverage as summarised below:

In December, they covered the following villages:

  • Malla Bandarjura
  • Bailpokhra
  • Talla bandarjura
  • Shivlal Pur
  • Hansram Pur
  • Bachi Nagar
  • Dhan Pur
  • Lacham Pur
  • Madanbail
  • Chunakhan
  • Bachat Pur
  • Tanda Mallu
  • Laxmipur Baniya
  • Narsingh Pur
  • Nai Basti
  • Nand Pur
  • Laxmipur Baniya
  • Devipur Mulia
  • Narsingh Pur
  • Dharam Pur
  • UdayPuri Chhopra
  • Tanda Mallu
  • Roopdevpur

Table 1: summary of Diclofenac awareness surveys

June July August September October November December
Number of interviews 6 7 9 7 693 841 778
Number of people present 35 42 34+ 29 1713 2057 1761
Total no. of livestock 55 202 311 88 3063 4472 3434
Number heard of Diclofenac 2 4 3 6 48 103 88
Number that use medical treatment 6 2 5 3 676 806 753
Number that have used Diclofenac 1 1 2 1 6 20 2
Number that have heard of Meloxicam 0 0 1 1 7 10 4
Percentage of interviewees using Diclofenac 16% 14% 22% 14% 0.8% 2% 0.26%

Table 2: summary of Diclofenac users

Village No. people present No. Of livestock Purchased from? Cost (INR) Using it for how long? Heard of Meloxicam? Aware of vulture decline? Aware of causes? Disposal of carcasses?
Dhanpur 1 5 One Time No No Yes Bury
Narayanpur 4 5 Medical Store 60/- First Time No Yes Yes Bury

The Diclofenac was found in two locations (as can be seen in Table 2 above).  Price for the Diclofenac is 60 Rupees.  Most people were not sure where they’d purchased the Diclofenac from, or how long they’d been using it, but nonetheless we know that Diclofenac is present in these communities. It is concerning that 90% of the people interviewed are aware of the vultures decline, but they don’t know Diclofenac as a major cause.  In terms of disposal of carcasses, the Diclofenac user is burying the carcass. There has to be an increase in the awareness of Meloxicam as a safe alternative drug.

3.Other meetings

We had a field staff meeting in December and they are joining us from January 1, 2011 and we will reach out to more communities through them.

4.Changes to the team

We have new team members in our core team, and also changes in the field team.

5.Overall December Progress

January looks like a good month for this campaign. December has been a little slow.

6.January plans

  • Continuation of the Diclofenac awareness and survey work
  • Discussions with local veterinary doctor (Dr Rajeev Singh) about a vulture interpretation centre and increase in local awareness on Diclofenac.

7.Project Vulture Core Team (December 2010)

  • Sumantha Ghosh:  President of Mahseer Conservancy and local naturalist with many years experience in the Corbett area.
  • Nicola Addison: Project Vulture field co-ordinator and ecologist with experience working with New Zealand birds of prey.
  • Hem Bahuguna: Field Support, head of the safari team at Tiger Camp, qualified Park guide, and naturalist with many years experience in the Corbett Area.
  • Dr Rajeev Singh: Local veterinary officer of Ramnagar provides a vital link to the veterinary and farming community.
  • Mr U C Tiwari: Corbett National Park, Park Warden, instrumental in involving the forest department in the vulture program.
  • Narendar Singh: Has been working with Mahseer Conservancy for many years, and is now heavily involved in the Vulture Program, particularly as liaison to our field staff.
  • Deewan Singh:  Is largely employed as a safari driver, but is also becoming more involved in the vulture campaign.  He is present at most of the external events that are held.
  • New Team (upto 31 December 2010)
  • Karan Bhandari: A recent part of the Vulture family. He is looking into the website and project report.
  • Kamal Chhimwal: A new member of our Vulture family, who does most of the Field Visits, interacts with the Local Community and helps to make more and more people aware of the Diclofenac and Vulture relation.
  • Hetal Barai: She has also joined our Community and will help in recreating and implementing the Vulture and Mahseer Program at another level along with other projects under Mahseer Conservancy.

Appendix One – distribution map of awareness work December 2010

The big black dots show the area of survey for the month of December. The other dots are for October and November.

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