- The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) among the globally threatened vulture species found in India.
- The species is popularly known as safed giddh (white vulture) in Hindi.
- According to BirdLife International, the present global breeding population of the Egyptian vulture is estimated to be 12,000 to 38,000 individuals.
- Habitat: They build their nests on ledges, in caves, on cliffs , crags and rocky outcrops, but occasionally also in large trees, buildings (mainly in India), electricity pylons and exceptionally on the ground.
- Food: The species rarely hunts for food — they mostly feed on dead carcasses of animals. They also eat carrion, tortoises, organic waste, insects, young vertebrates and eggs.
- Egyptian vultures are classified under the ‘Endangered’ (EN) red list of the International Union for Conversation of Nature (IUCN).
Threats to their population:
- Lead poisoning (from ammunition used in hunting)
- Direct and secondary poisoning
- Electrocution (by power lines)
- Collisions with wind turbines
- Reduced food availability
- Habitat change
- Globally various conservation actions like Monitoring programmes, supplementary feeding and campaigns against illegal use of poisons, including awareness-raising, are in place.
- The veterinary drug diclofenac has been banned by the Indian government. Diclofenac leads to renal failure in vultures (when they eat dead animals) damaging their excretory system.
- In many countries vultures have been fitted with satellite-tags to study juvenile dispersion, migratory movements and wintering areas.
- Method of captive-breeding is carried in Italy.
- It is the world’s largest nature conservation partnership.
- It has 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide, one per country or territory and growing.
- It strives to conserve birds, their habitat and global biodiversity.
- It is working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
Section : Environment & Ecology