Vultures in human-distorted landscapes of Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh, India pertaining to roosting and feeding sites
The Terai belt of Uttar Pradesh is blessed with a promising population of vultures, the chief obligate scavengers that have coexisted with humans for centuries. Balrampur district has the residential and migratory vulture population in their protected and unprotected areas. The study was undertaken from December 2016 to May 2019, to understanding how vultures persisted in human-altered landscapes with a focus on management of roosting and feeding sites. The results illustrated the presence of 7 vulture species in the study area that exhibited seasonal variations. The vulture population at roosting sites ranged from 10 to 600 comprising of individuals of Oriental white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis) and 2-3 Cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus). Being social foragers, vultures were seen feeding in flocks of 15-60 individuals. As per the observations, there was no dearth of carcasses for the scavengers; however, the presence of the feral dog population is a key hindrance. The risk to nesting and roosting sites is high due to the uncontrolled collecting of woods for domestic and commercial uses such as in hotel kitchens, brick kilns and at furniture shops. This information will aid to know where and how to focus conservation efforts on a regional and global scale with the involvement of local people.