30 March 2012
We are creating diclofenac-free Save Havens for vultures, but this takes time, and with vultures declining so rapidly, it may not be enough. It is essential that we establish a captive breeding programme before it is too late.
We have taken healthy birds from the wild to build a viable population, and will release them and their young, when diclofenac is no longer a threat.
Vulture re-introductions have been carried out very successfully in France with closely related Eurasian griffon vultures, and we draw on experience of the California condor programme, and of expert Jemima Parry-Jones, so we are confident it can work.
Several hundred birds of each species must be kept in a number of well separated centres to make this work. So far, three captive breeding centres have been built in India: in Haryana, northern India, where 145 vultures are housed; in West Bengal, holding 83; and in Assam, holding 42 vultures. There are two additional centres - one in Nepal, at Chitwan and one run by WWF in Pakistan.
The vulture centre in Haryana was developed with support from the Darwin Initiative, with considerable local support from the State Government of Haryana.
In spring 2008 we celebrated the fantastic news that two pairs of Oriental white-backed vulture had bred successfully at the Haryana centre.
In 2010, we had further cause for excitement - and hope. For the first time ever, all three of the Critically Endangered Gyps vultures successfully bred and fledged young at the breeding centres in India.
This event was a world first for the long-billed vulture, which had never bred in captivity before. Drawing on the expertise of SAVE and its supporters, new artificial incubation techniques were developed which have increased productivity. Some pairs have produced ‘double clutches’, meaning they produced a second egg and chick, as the first was removed, hatched in incubators and reared by highly trained Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) staff.
Over 30 captive-bred chicks have now successfully fledged. This is exciting progress, but we need to breed many more to ensure a viable population can be released back into the wild when it is safe to do so.
Please donate today, and help us continue this vital work. With your help, we should have plenty more to celebrate in the future.
To find out more, please contact Chris Bowden, SAVE Programme Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to discuss sponsoring a Safe Haven (with a gift of £1,000 or more), please contact David Agombar, Major Donors Manager, at email@example.com
If you would like to discuss bespoke opportunities for your business to help SAVE, please contact Martin Sreeves at firstname.lastname@example.org