Vulture Conservation in South Asia
Vultures play an important role in maintaining a clean environment. In fact, vultures are the primary consumers of carrion in both Asia and Africa, with an individual Gyps vulture consuming around 1 kg. of tissue every three days (Mundy et al., 1992).
Four species of vultures, namely White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture and Indian Vulture are in grave danger of extinction across the Indian subcontinent. Between 1995 and 2011, monitoring of vulture populations in lowland Nepal revealed declines of 91% and 96% for White-rumped Vulture and Slender-billed Vulture, respectively (Chaudhary et al., 2012). Due to similar declines elsewhere in South Asia in 1990s, these four vulture species are listed “Critically Endangered” and Egyptian Vulture “Endangered” in IUCN Red List.
Since the discovery of the catastrophic decline of the vulture population in Nepal close to 91% and its main cause being diclofenac, Nepal has been continuously putting huge efforts to halt its decline. Our major steps being successful ban and removing of veterinary diclofenac since 2006. Additionally, the setting up of Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre at Kasara in Chitwan National Park in 2008 and running a successful breeding program jointly with Chitwan National Park, Bird Conservation Nepal and National Trust for Nature Conservation. We celebrated our conservation breeding success by releasing 31 captive reared and bred vulture chicks in the wild becoming the first country to do this very exciting work. The result of this release is promising and we hope to do better in future.
Nepal is well known for its community led program and the establishment of Community Managed Vulture Safe Feeding Sites popularly known as Vulture Restaurants in seven different sites of the country. Without the support and ownership from community, our conservation efforts will not bring good results and we would not have achieved at this level. We have also pioneered the idea of Vulture Safe Zone and till the date declared 70 districts as Diclofenac Free Zone (DFZ) which occupies more than 95% area of Nepal safe for vulture. Vulture Conservation Action Plan 2009-2013 and 2015-2019 endorsed by the government are key to our actions on the ground.
Established in 1982, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) is the leading organization in Nepal, focusing on conservation of birds, their habitats and sites. It seeks to promote interest in birds among the general public, encourage research on birds, and identify major threats to birds’ continued survival. BCN has undertaken vulture conservation as a flagship species conservation programme.
Number of Grants: Two
Nature of Grant: The Jatayu Research grant will support Bachelors’ and Masters’ students who are undertaking research as partial fulfillment of their degree. This will primarily cover literature review, field expenses, communications and printing costs. Expenses for participation in trainings/conferences, equipment purchase will not be supported. Besides direct funding, a team of experts from BCN (and international) will be on hand for technical backstopping of your research work. Scholarship winners will also be invited to relevant trainings organized by BCN and its partner organizations.
Who Can Apply?
All Nepalese Bachelor and Masters level students studying at Nepalese universities who are undertaking their research as partial fulfillment of their degree.
Preference will be given to students conducting research on vulture biology and their habitat, however, students working on other topics (exploratory survey of vulture in new sites, ethnological relation, drugs toxicity to vultures, threats to vultures, ecotourism, socio-economics & sustainability of vulture safe zones etc.) are also welcomed.
What do you need to submit?
You need to submit a brief bio data and a short proposal (maximum 4 pages, Times New Roman font size 12 and normal page margins). Proposal should include background, objectives, methodology, budget and work plan of intended project. Plagiarism in proposal will lead to automatic disqualification.
Where to apply?
Bird Conservation Nepal
PO BOX 12465, Lazimpat, Kathmandu
Application Deadline: 20 January 2021
Note: Only relevant enquiries will be entertained. BCN reserves the right to accept or reject any application. Any form of solicitation will lead to direct disqualification.