Artificial incubation facility for vultures likely in Bhopal

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Bhopal, Nov 22 (PTI) The Madhya Pradesh forest department is thinking of developing an artificial incubation facility for vultures at a conservation centre here to revive the population of these scavenging birds, an official said.

As per the bird count done in Madhya Pradesh in 2019, the state had 8,397 vultures, the highest among other states in India, Bhopal-based Van Vihar National Park's deputy director A K Jain told PTI.

The population of vultures, which are of great value as scavengers as they eat dead animals, declined alarmingly about two decades ago and they faced the threat of extinction, he said.

A vulture conservation and breeding centre came up in Kerwa area here in 2013 and it is being run jointly by the Bombay Natural History Society and the MP government.

'About three or four rooms would be needed for the artificial egg incubation facility at a cost of around Rs 4 to 5 lakh. We are seriously thinking of developing the facility at the conservation and breeding centre,' Jain said.

The pre-natal and newborn vulture mortality rate is around 70 per cent. Thus, the facility would help in multiplying the bird population, he said.

'We expect to increase the survival rate of these birds to 50 to 60 per cent with the new facility. An incubator provides warmth to chicks hatched from the eggs, just like a mother's lap. The modern device is a life-saver,' he said.

Jain said 23 pairs, or 46 vultures, were brought to the breeding centre here since it came up here, and the number of these birds has risen to 55 even after mortality.

'A vulture lays one egg in a year. If the bird learns through its instinct that the egg is infertile, or if its gets displaced or spoilt, then it lays another egg,' he said. PTI LAL GK GK