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World’s first Asian King Vulture conservation and breeding center to be inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj District to Host State-of-the-Art King Vulture Conservation and Breeding Center

The world’s first conservation and breeding center for the critically endangered Asian king vulture is set to open in Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district. The center, named Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre (JCBC), is spread over 1.5 hectares and is designed to maintain a sustainable population of the species by breeding king vultures in captivity and releasing them into the wild. The JCBC, worth approximately Rs 15 crore, features multiple aviaries, including breeding and holding aviaries, nursery aviaries for juveniles, hospital and recovery aviaries, a food processing center, and an incubation center.

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JCBC Aims to Breed at Least 40 Vultures in a 15-year Project

The Asian king vulture, protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, is localized primarily to northern India and has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 2007 due to the widespread use of diclofenac in veterinary medicine in India, which caused a population collapse in recent years. Veterinary usage of diclofenac has been banned in India, and the JCBC aims to raise at least 40 vultures in captivity over 15 years to ensure the sustainable conservation of the species.

Male Vultures May be Captured for Breeding at Jatayu Centre

According to Gorakhpur DFO Vikas Yadav, the center’s infrastructure was built in 2021 as part of the project’s first phase. The second phase is about breeding vultures; the center will initially have ten vultures for breeding. The forest department has partnered with the Bombay Natural History Society for technical guidance. Male vultures are known to be more adept at taking care of the chicks, and once the breeding period is over, a male vulture may be captured from the wild and brought to the JCBC for breeding purposes.

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