On March 16, 2023, a ground-breaking event occurred in Nepal with the first-ever tagging of a Slender-billed Vulture. A team from Bird Conservation Nepal, Jatayu restaurant, and the senior conservation scientist of RSPB Dr John Mallord successfully trapped, tagged, and released one Slender-billed Vulture at the Vulture Safe Feeding Site in Kawasoti, Nawalpur. The team had prepared a satellite tag and harness for the bird, and by 8:40 AM, they were ready to capture the SBV seen around the feeding site.
At 9:15 AM, the team moved down to the release aviary, where they set up a carcass to attract the vultures. The team divided into two groups: one observing from a hide to confirm the entry of Slender-billed Vulture in the trap, and the other ready to pull the gate of the trap. After waiting for the other vultures to feed, the team was delighted when the Slender-billed Vulture finally entered the aviary and began to feed on the carcass. The team immediately signalled the other team to pull the door, and at 9:39 AM, the bird was successfully captured.
The Ornitella 50gm GPS-GSM telemetry tag (tag no 230658) with Red aluminum leg ring (J18) used in the Slender-billed Vulture tagging will provide information on the bird’s movements, patterns, and habitat use, which can be used to inform conservation efforts. The data collected can help researchers understand where the vultures are feeding, roosting, and breeding, as well as identify potential threats to their survival.
The tagging of the Slender-billed Vulture is particularly important as the species’ population in Nepal is critically low, with only five or six nests identified in each breeding season. The tagging will provide valuable insights into the bird’s movement and habitat, and Bird Conservation Nepal hopes to identify more nests through this tagging. In fact, BCN is planning to tag nine more individuals of the species later this year and also would like to thank Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Chitwan National Park for the permission and support.
Overall, the tagging of the Slender-billed Vulture is exciting developments that will help conservationists gain a better understanding of this endangered species and work towards its conservation. The data collected through this process can inform conservation efforts and help protect these important birds for future generations.