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Vulture Study Video of Arghakhanchi, Nepal By Krishna Prasad Bhusal and Hemanta Dhakal

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Published on Aug 8, 2012

Vultures are medium to large sized scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals and are found on every continent except Antarctica and Oceania (Del Hoyo et al 1994). Vultures play important role in maintain clean environment through rapid consumption of animal carcasses and human dead bodies in the form of sky burials within Nepal and Tibet, China. They do safely disposing off dead animals and help in preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases. The loss of a major scavenger from the ecosystem will affect the balance between populations of other scavenging species and/or result in increase in putrefying carcasses. Both increases in putrefying carcasses and changes in the scavenger populations also have associated disease risks for wildlife, livestock and humans including the spread of rabies and livestock borne diseases like anthrax, tuberculosis and brucellosis (Prakash et al. 2003; Anderson et al. 2005).
There are nine species of vultures recorded from Indian subcontinent of which five belongs to the genus Gyps (Prakash 1999). Four species of vultures in Asia are in grave danger of extinction across the Indian subcontinent. Population of White-rumped vulture, long-billed vulture and Slender- billed vulture have declined by more than 97% in India (Prakash et al. 2003). Due to these declines, all three species were listed as critically endangered by IUCN 2000, which is highest category of endangerment. Further to this two more species Red-headed vulture and Egyptian vulture are listed as critically endangered and endangered respectively in 2007.
Gherabhir is rocky mountain elevated about 1,732 m to 2,200 m from sea level and lies in the junction of Hansapur and Khanadaha of Arghakhanchi Nepal. South facing cliff slope of Gherabhir is habitat of three different species of vulture namely Himalayan Griffon, Egyptian vulture and Lammergeier. Geographically the cliff is situated between 28°03'35.6'' North to 28°03'50.9'' North latitude and 83°05'18.4'' East to 83°05'59.6'' East longitude.
Two community forests; Gartakhola community forest, Khaharekhola community forest and Government forest of Garlam lies in the Argha of Arghakhanchi Nepal. There were three nesting colonies of White-rumped vulture in these forests and all nest are in the trunk of Pine trees. Geographically the whole block (dotted line in figure) of white-rumped vulture nesting site is situated between 28°00'49.1'' North to 28°01'25.5'' North latitude and 83°07'18.6'' East to 83°06'11.9'' East longitude and altitude ranges from 1061 m to 1382 m.

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