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Egyptian Vultures and Bone crushing factories in Uttar Pradesh, India – a curious relationship

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One of the VCF´s priorities is the conservation of Egyptian vulture, the most endangered of the 4 European vulture species (Endangered at global level), and indeed we are active on different fronts to try to improve the conservation status of the species – from projects on the ground like the LIFE RUPIS to promoting captive breeding and release for conservation, etc.

There are two subspecies of Egyptian vultures, and while our focus is mostly on the nominal subspecies that occurs in Eurasia, it is interesting to see what comes from the Indian subcontinent where the other subspecies lives.

There seems to be some small differences between the two subspecies in ecology and behaviors, and so it was with interest that we received from colleagues Shivangi Mishra, Adesh Kumar and Amita Kanaujia (from the University of Lucknow) the note below about a unique association between Egyptian vultures and bone crushing factories in India.

Their observations near a Bone-mill factory in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh suggest that the Egyptian vultures are fond of crushed and grinded bones and so were present in large numbers at the factory (between 50 and 300 individuals always present) when it was operating, feeding upon the heaps of crushed bones (see photos). When the factory closed due to local complains about bad smells, the numbers decreased significantly.

Download Bone Mill Shivangi.pdf Adobe Acrobat Document 457.2 KB Download

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