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Stone Pelting on Tiger Cubs :Kanha Pench Corridor Becomes Conflict Zone

 Two tiger cubs- less than 6 month old- escaped the fury of a 5000 strong mob in a village located in Kanha-Pench corridor . Villagers tried to kill them by pelting stones when the cubs had reached a water body to quench their thirst. This issue  has highlighted again the plight of the fragmented tiger corridors. It also reminds the urgency to restore their sanctity. People Shouted Kill the Cubs Kill the Cubs  Wildlife is most vulnerable during summer, due to scarcity of resources. Water is the key limited resource inside jungles . Special monitoring ofwater holes should be carried out all along the corridors, to effectively deter such incidents, poaching of herbivores and poisoning of tigers and othercarnivores. In the scorching summer, the two cubs also reached a nearby waterbody . In the adjacent forest , the villagers were plucking tendu leaves- a minor forest produce  to  roll beedi , a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake and commonly wrapped in a tendu leaf. Th

Panna National Park Guests Fly 7500 kms,Reach Home Safely

 

Panna tiger reserve Himalayan Griffon Vulture

Winged visitors of Panna national park have reached home –safely. In about two months of time, Himalayan Griffon vultures covered a distance of a few thousand kms to reach home in Chinese territory. While doing so, they crossed over the Himalayas .The amazing flight and its route   was revealed after Geo-tagging of a near- threatened scavenger bird by a group of scientists and foresters in Panna tiger reserve in February 2022. Flying almost 120 kms every day, they reached home, the data revealed. That the vultures’ annual migration for four months to Panna  from such a long distance shows the unique character of their habitat in Panna , all set to be submerged in Ken Betwa river link project which is still awaiting several green clearances.

Unique Habitat of Himalayan Vultures to Submerge in Ken Betwa project 

Panna National Park Himalayan Griffon Vulture

The Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) or Himalayan griffon vulture is an Old World vulture native to the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors.It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. One Himalayan Griffon -HG_8673- tagged during February, has entered China crossing Mount Everest region through Sagarmatha national park in Nepal. Currently it is near Shigatse City of the Tibetan region in China, said Uttam Kumar Sharma, field director of the national park. “The vulture completed this journey in around 60 days travelling over 7500 km with multiple stopovers”, Sharma said. “One more tagged Himalayan Griffon -HG_8677 -has also entered Nepal and currently it is near Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve in Nepal”, he  said. Both the vultures had migrated to Panna during the winters.This is for the first time the flight of the migratory Himalayan Griffon vultures was monitored after successful tagging of two vultures in Panna by a team of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Panna tiger reserve in February 2022. In all 25 vultures were tagged including 8 Himalayan Griffon, 2 each Eurasian vultures ,2 red headed vultures and the remaining Indian vultures . The data of other vultures is yet to be downloaded. The Eurasian vultures, as the name suggests, are expected to fly to Eurasian region. There red headed and India vultures flew around MP and far and returned. 

Also read: Ken-Betwa Project:Dam of Doom for Panna Tiger Reserve

When Himalayan Griffons migrate to Panna during the winters, they spend their time mainly at the famous cliffs, habitat of  750 vultures of six species.  For them Panna is their second home. The unique terrain of Panna national park consists of extensive plateaus, rocky cliffs, gorges, caves and rock crevices creating critical habitats for breeding and resting of the key species such as tiger, leopard, hyena, sloth bear and vultures. A large part of  them is all set to be submerged  once the Ken Betwa  linking project  is implemented. “ The project proponents must take into account all the ecological and environmental aspects. They should  give a second thought before going ahead with the project”, a senior  official of the WII said.

Geo Tagging is Like Smart Watch

Pannanational Park Himalayan Griffon Vulture

The vultures were tagged with sophisticated GPS tags, known as e-ObsTags and act like a smartwatch that humans use while exercising  ,walking  and sleeping and get a variety of data related to the individual. The tags, manufactured in Germany, are solar-powered and weigh between 25 g and 75 g, which is quite light in weight compared to the birds that weigh over 12 kg. The tags were configured to collect and store data and then transmit the data whenever they come in the transmission link. Officials explained that  “it is a GSM-based tag and data is transmitted when the birds take flight and soar. 

Also Read: Future Tense: Turbulent Time Ahead for Panna Tigers

Moreover, it collects data every five minutes, allowing fine scale data along with elevation, temperature and activity among others.” After the geo tagging, the agency  providing the technical support with a worldwide network, monitored the data and after analysis handed it over to the park management. The data was downloaded in the mobile networks of different geographical regions while on way to their destination. Because the tagging involved both resident and migratory vultures, the movement data will allow the wildlife conservationists to understand the migration pattern , foraging ,places where the vultures go for feeding and roosting. This information in turn helps  the conservation and protection interventions.

Vultures Doing Invaluable Ecosystem Service

Panna National Park Himalayan Griffon Vultures

Himalayan vultures are susceptible to toxicity induced by diclofenac, a drug whose residues in domestic animal carcasses has led to rapid declines in populations of other Gyps vultures across Asia.The adaptation that allows this species to fly so high is an alteration of one of its proteins, which allows the bird to fly efficiently despite lower pressure and available oxygen. This is one of the largest vultures of Asia, able to reach a wingspan of about 3 meters and weighing more than 10 kg.The body structure allows them to undertake long flights.

Also Read: Egyptian Vultures: Victims of Myths And Misconceptions   

Feeding exclusively on carcasses of dead animals, especially of domestic yaks, the Himalayan Griffon Vulture is in competition not only with birds but also with wolves, Snow Leopards and other carnivores.  The geo tagging  will also provide invaluable ecosystem services by enhancing the flow of nutrients within food webs and reducing transmission of infectious disease through the removal of carrion.

Representational Cover Image: Animalia.bio, Geo-tagging image :Panna tiger resrve ,Last Image: discoverwildlife.com  

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