Churu (Rajasthan), May 2 : A pair of endangered specie of King Vulture gave birth to a chick in Talchapar, a black buck sanctuary in Rajasthan.
The incident is heartening since it is increasingly felt that vultures need to be reared in captivity if they are to have any chance of a future.
"A unique incident, which we noted this year is that six species of vulture came here. Among them, a pair of king vultures remained here and while nesting they gave birth to a chick. It is unprecedented and unique since the king vulture is an endangered specie," said Suraj Singh, forest range officer.
The chick is on a 20-25 feet long tree, which is now 15-16 day old. It is a rare sight since king vultures are not seen laying eggs at such a low height and that too in India.
Three breeding centres have been set up in the country, but vultures are so rare that it's hard to catch them.
A survey shows that the rate of decline of the Asian vulture is about 50 per cent a year with one species, the white-backed vulture, falling by 99.9 per cent since the early 1990s.
Others such as the long-billed and slender-billed vultures have been reduced to around 1,000 in the wild.
Scientists blame the decline on an anti-inflammatory drug used for livestock, which can poison vultures feeding on treated carcasses.
Increasing urbanisation, rampant use of pesticides in agricultural fields, mounting pollution and wide-scale killing of vultures are all taking their toll. Their breeding is slow which is also a reason for their low population.
The event is significant since these vultures produce just one egg every year or every other year. They're not sexually mature until they're about five years old and it takes them a couple of years of attempting to have chicks before they're able to successfully rear one "This specie is a very slow breeder and breeds once in a year or once in two year. It gives only one egg and very rarely two eggs. So it's a very slow breeder and it nests at very high places heights like Peepal, Mango or Banyan tree," said Pratap Singh, zoology lecturer.