The three hatched in a breeding centre in Haryana in the months of February and March and took their first flight recently. They are an addition to the population of Asian vultures that have three varieties – the long-billed, slender-billed and oriental white-blacked vultures. All three species are critically endangered with just 60,000 left in the world today.
The main reason for the death of these vultures has been eating of cattle carcasses with diclofenac, a pain-killer given to sick cows. Over the last six years Indian scientists with aid and guidance from the Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, have been trying to breed the three species in captivity. While they had been successful in breeding the other two species, this is the first time that the long-billed vulture has been bred.
According to Graham Madge, spokesperson for the Britain royal society, now efforts are being made by them and Bombay Natural History Society to develop safe zones for the birds so that they can fly freely.
Photo by donjd2 via cc/Flickr