Rare Eurasian Griffon vulture, tagged in Kerala, spotted in western Maharashtra

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Mumbai, May 26 (PTI) An Eurasian Griffon vulture rescued and tagged by the Kerala forest department has been spotted in the Sahyadri mountain ranges of Maharashtra, 700 km away, a senior official said on Wednesday.

According to ornithologists, sightings of the bird are rare in Maharashtra.

'An Eurasian Griffon vulture was spotted in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve. The bird had been tagged in Kannur and released in the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala,' said Clement Ben, chief conservator of forest at the tiger reserve.

Forest guard Santosh Chalake first spotted the bird in Patan tehsil of Satara district of western Maharashtra on May 9 and clicked some pictures.

Rohan Bhate, honorary wildlife warden in Satara district, shared the photos on some vulture study groups on social media which led to the discovery that it had been tagged in Kerala.

According to Bhate, this species of vultures is chiefly found in Tibet, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan ranges in India.

'It is known for traveling long distances in search of food. The height of this vulture is usually 125 cm with a wing span of 8-9 feet. It weighs around 8-10 kg,' he said.“The tag on the right wing made me realize that it has been rescued earlier and ringed for the purpose of study,' Bhate added.

'As we spread the word in our social media groups of ornithologists, we received confirmation from the Kerala forest department,” he said.

As per the preliminary information, the bird was tagged last winter, he said.

The forest department is monitoring the bird's movement and also trying to find out if it is alone or has a partner. If there is a pair, they may lay eggs, an official said. PTI ND KRK KRK

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