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06 Apr, 2022

Geotagging to Monitor Vulture’s Behavior at Panna National Park

You will be amazed to know that one of the best National Parks of India Panna Tiger Reserve is not only popular for tiger sightings but also for housing endangered vulture species. Recently 25 vultures including a critically endangered Indian Vulture at Panna Tiger Reserve have been geotagged to study the species behavior.

The tagging of these vultures was carried out by veterinarians from Wildlife Institute of India under the Landscape Management Plan project who have the support of professional trappers, resident veterinary officers and park officials of Panna National Park. While tagging vultures the most challenging phase was the baiting stations which were set up for vultures but also attracted other wildlife including tigers. This made vultures take longer to come to the bait for tagging.

According to Uttam Kumar Sharma, Director, Panna National Park (PNP), “Madhya Pradesh has got good results in the conservation of vulture species. The number of vultures (in the state) has increased to 9,446 in the year 2021.”

Important Highlights of Radio tagging of Vulture Species

Tagging a Vulture with a GPS Device at Panna
  • 25 Vultures species have been radio tagged to study the species behavior -13 Indian vultures,8 Himalayan Griffon Vultures, 2 Eurasian Griffon Vultures and 2 King Vultures.
  • These sophisticated GPS also known as Obs Tags will help to monitor the species behavior and overall health status of the Vultures in and around Panna National Park. These tags weigh between 25 to 75 g are manufactured in Germany. They are very light weight in comparison to the birds that weigh over 12kg.
  • Different methods are used in Tagging of these vulture species such as leg-hold trap, walk in closure and clap trap. All these methods are traditional tagging methods to tag migratory birds including vultures.
  • Gyps Indicus, one of the critically endangered vulture species, have also been tagged for this study.
  • The radio tagging will also help in policy making, conservation activities and adaptive management plans to protect these species.
  • The tags will collect data every 5 minutes which would give the information about elevation, temperature, behavior and other activities. It will also give the information of vultures going to places for feeding and roosting.
  • The daily behavior data such as how they drink water, adapt to a new area, and interact with others will definitely help in understanding the behavior for conservation of these species in the location where vultures are vulnerable.
  • These tagging also provides invaluable eco system information especially about the need of a large area for survival including human spaces and carcass dumps.
  • The hematological, and microbiological analysis from the obtained samples will help determine the overall health status of the vulture species in and around Panna Tiger Reserve.

Surely Geotagging proves to be a great study for the protection of vulture species and adaptive management of the vulnerable creatures in and around Panna Tiger Reserve. This study will also fill the existing knowledge gaps for better understanding the needs of these species.

Panna National Park News Inputs.

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