Feburary Report – Vulture Conservation Program

Vulture Conservation Program

Awareness and Monitoring

February 2011 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 February 2011.  This report is ninth in a series of monthly reports made throughout the year.

1.      Monitoring of Vulture Colonies

The monitoring of vulture community was undertaken again during the month of February after a gap of few months. The monitoring was undertaken in the Ringora and Tumeria colonies by Ms. Louis and Mr. Narendar Kumar respectively. Following were the findings of the monitoring of the vulture colonies

S. No. Indicators Ringora Colony (Monitored by Louis) Tumeria Colony (Monitored by Narendar)
1 Total number of nests 12 7
2 Number of active nests (i.e. with chicks or adults on the nest) 10 7
3 Number of chicks 5 (confirmed) 3 (confirmed)
4 Number of adults perching 15 12
5 Number of adults flying in the vicinity 16 18
6 Vultures exhibiting drooping head symptoms 0 0
7 Any other behaviours shown /comments Nests no. 6 and 7 were destroyed by falling branches All the nests are of Indian white backs but Himalayan griffon were also seen flying in the area

However we faced difficulties in the scientific monitoring process of the vulture communities because our GPS system is no more functional. It was extremely difficult to monitor with the current facilities and instruments that we have .

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

We had a meeting  with the veterinary  Doctor at Government Hospital, Ramnagar and he reported that there has been substantial decrease in the over the counter sale of Diclofenac as the government  vets are no longer subscribing to the banned medicine. 3. Diclofenac Presence Survey Our field staff covered a large area in the month of February.  Their coverage has been summarised below: The following villages were covered:

  • Nathuwakhan (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Kundeshwari
  • Badayt (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Pihniya
  • Daylkuna (Simayal Raikwal)
  • Kova Kheda
  • Simayal Raikwal (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Bhuriya Tooru
  • Garhgoan (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Kunraah
  • Darima Kailta (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Gurkorah
  • Bajutiya Goyoti (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Pat Pura
  • Goyoti (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Sainjana
  • Suyal Gaarh (Ramgarh NTL)
  • M.G.Nandpur
  • Harinagar (Ramgrh NTL)
  • Nandpur
  • Satoli (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Moti Pur
  • Darima Kailta (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Balkhera Neher
  • Darima (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Moti Pur (2)
  • Qawarab (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Pathar Puri
  • Sirsha (Ramgarh NTL)
  • Sardar Nagar
  • Bhawan Pur Khulvey
  • Roshan Pur
  • Aampokhra
  • Dall Pura
  • Dhanpur Gusain
  • Dhhai No
  • Himmatpur Block
  • Jhagar Puri
  • Nai Bashti Laldhang
  • Majra Hasan
  • Naya Jhirna
  • Bareily Nagar No.1
  • Shakkan Pur
  • Khusal Pur
  • Dhore Vakel
  • Shakkan Par
  • Khawaj Pur

Table 1: Summary of Diclofenac Awareness Survey

June July August September October November December January February
Number of interviews 6 7 9 7 693 841 778 3171 2910
Number of people present 35 42 34+ 29 1713 2057 1761 6132 6139
Total no. of livestock 55 202 311 88 3063 4472 3434 13259 10069
Number heard of Diclofenac 2 4 3 6 48 103 88 226 160
Number that use medical treatment 6 2 5 3 676 806 753 2481 2484
Number that have used Diclofenac 1 1 2 1 6 20 2 5 1
Number that have heard of Meloxicam 0 0 1 1 7 10 4 256 57
Percentage of interviewees using Diclofenac 16% 14% 22% 14% 0.8% 2% 0.26% 0.2% .034%

February  Survey shows a consistency in  both  the no of people covered as well as the no of interviews Conducted (though as shown above the numbers were slightly less than that for January). The livestock population analysed was again high (10069) . It also shows a fair no of cattle falling sick and receiving medical aid but the percentage of Diclofenac usage seems to have gone very down (at 0.034%)  but the percentage of villagers who have heard of Meloxicam is also low. Table 2: Summary of Diclofenac Users

Village No. Present No. of Livestock Purchased from? Cost (INR) Period of usage Heard of Meloxicam Aware of vulture decline Aware of cause Disposal of carcass
Dhanpur Gosain 1 4 NA NA Yes Yes Yes Thrown in forest

Diclofenac was found in one location (as can be seen in Table 2). Here the Vet has provided the Villager with Diclofenac. It was concerning that although because of the awareness campaigns the awareness is increasing about vulture decline and Diclofenac but even after having the knowledge some people are still using  the banned medicine  and throwing the dead body of the animal treated with Diclofenac in the forest. The person who used Diclofenac was confused about the name and usage of Diclofenac and Meloxicam but after one of our team members re – confirmed it was true that he had used Diclofenac which the vet had provided. Compared to the January data we can notice a marked decrease in the percentage of Meloxicam awareness amongst the people interviewed.

3. Other meetings

  • We met our field staff on the 26th of Feb and explained to them the new strategy we will undertake in our vulture program from the month of March.
  • We  had a meeting with Dr. Richard Cuthbert who was in Corbett for a few days and we discussed a plan and strategy on the program from the months of March onwards.
  • We also had a slide show and a movie presentation in the Gurudwara, Hathidagar
  • We participated in Basant Panchami festival at Ramnagar , to reach out to the local masses and seek their support and to build awareness on the issue of Vulture conservation. The leaflets and handouts were distributed among common masses to increase awareness about vulture decline and their role in the conservation.
  • A vulture conservation event was organised at Tumeri Khatta, where around 60 to 70 cattle owners were sensitised on the importance and measures for vulture conservation. Different kinds of IEC and BCC materials (including movie, handouts and FGD ) were used for awareness building during the event. The local elders expressed full support to the campaign.
  • Diclofenac awareness meeting was organised at Government Veterinary hospital , Ramnagar, participated by the government vet health functionaries, Dr. Richard Cuthbert and around 25 other participants.

4. Changes in the team

  • Mr. Sharad Jha, has recently joined our organisation in the capacity of Head- Programme and Operations , from March 1st . He is having diverse experience in community based interventions with different national and international organisations at senior positions.
  • Ms. Hetal Barai who was helping us for sometime has left Mahseer Conservancy.

5. Overall February Progress

The month of February was marked by events and  awareness  campaigns/ meetings at different levels. Besides the mentioned (above) activities following were the other activities carried out during the past month:

  • Narendra, Kamal and Suresh marked 23 Indian White Backed Vulture trees in Ringora, Tumeria and Hathidagar area.
  • We rescued 3 Himalayan Griffon Vultures from Machhor, Dhikuli and Belpokhra villages respectively after receiving calls from villagers about the injured vultures.This showed that the community participation has increased now in the vulture conservation  But except for the last one other two did not survive because of internal injuries. One has died even before the treatment got started. Another one died after being treated at the Nainital Zoo. The third one (showing symptoms of poisoning) survived after we took it the Nainital Zoo for treatment.
  • We have also put numerous banners and posters about vulture conservation in different parts of intervention area , which included Bijrani and Dhangarhi gate of CTR,CTR park office, Terai West DFO office, Vet office Ramnagar, and  prominent locations in different blocks.

6. March Plans

  • Continuation of the Diclofenac awareness and survey work including Vulture Monitoring (which has re – started in Ringora & Tumeria)
  • Restructuring and reorganising the vulture project and program with new strategies and plans like looking out for dumping areas, meeting vets and para – vets, meeting people in group or bigger get together or function, more slide shows, movies, campaigns and so on
  • Corbett Cleaniness Drive and mass awareness (7th and 8th march 2011),
  • Awareness campaign during Pantnagar farmers Fair (9 to 12 March 2011)

7. Project Vulture (Team)

  • 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.
  • Karan Bhandari: A recent part of the Vulture family. He is Webmaster for Mahseer Conservancy.
  • 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.
  • Pushpa Pandey: She is from Khatima. She has a work of 5 yrs in another N.G.O. She is covering Block Khatima.
  • Pyarelal: He is from Gadarpur. He is a para – vet. He has a work experience of 2 yrs. He is covering Gadarpur Block.
  • Bhuvan Chand: He is from Ramgarh. He has a work experience of 2 yrs in another N.G.O. He is covering Ramgarh Block.
  • Mohan Singh: He is from Kundeshwari. He is a fresher. He is covering Kashipur Block.

Appendix One -

Distribution

Map of Awareness Work February 2011

The medium dots in (blue) show the area of survey for the month of February. The other dots are for the past few months.

The map above shows Khatima, Gadarpur and Ramgarh area. This area is not shown in the previous map given above. The villages covered this month are marked in blue dots. The dots in red are the villages covered during previous months.

Events during  the month of February

Save the Vulture Campaign during the Basant Panchami Festival  in Ramnagar

Newspaper Clipping of Basant Panchami

Meeting of Vulture Conservation  team members  with Dr. Richard Cuthbert  (Scientist RSPB)

Slide Show and Movie Show at Dharampur Village

Vulture Conservation Workshop with Ringora Kids



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