Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR)

Ø Authorities in Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) have started planning for conservation of vultures after 150 of the birds were sighted recently in the protected area.

Ø Different species of vultures including Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis) were among the 150 individuals spotted in VTR. About 75-80 vultures, the highest number, were spotted at the Ganauli range, followed by Madanpur and others.

Ø The state government has been planning to create a diclofenac-free zone for conservation of vultures in areas bordering Nepal.

Ø There are nine recorded species of vultures in India — the Oriental white-backed, long-billed, slender-billed, Himalayan, red-headed, Egyptian, bearded, cinereous and the Eurasian Griffon. The Egyptian vulture is listed as ‘endangered’ while the Himalayan, bearded and cinereous vultures are ‘near threatened’. Critically-endangered species – the Oriental white-backed, long-billed, red-headed vultures and slender-billed vultures.

Ø Valmiki Tiger Reserve forms the eastern most limit of the Himalayan Terai forests in India and is the only tiger reserve of Bihar. Situated in the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone of the country, the forest has combination of bhabar and terai tracts. Valmiki Tiger Reserve lies in the north-western (mostly in the West Champaran) district of Bihar. Name of the district has been derived from two words Champa and Aranya meaning Forest of Champa trees.

Ø Sanctuary is reported to shelter of 250 species of birds 53 mammals, 145 birds, 26 reptile and 13 amphibians.