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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field

"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.

Found 13 entries matching your request:

Ranthambhore: Haunt of the Royal Bengal Tiger by Munir Virani

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Winding down the narrow cobbled road across the gallery of forests with its stunning backdrop of golden-drenched cliffs, it seemed only like yesterday when I first did this same stretch. Spotted deer and peafowl stood along the side of the road oblivious to the speeding open jeeps that carried tourists eager to get even a glimpse of one of India’s enigmatic icons – the Royal Bengal Tiger. As we maneuvered our way through the towering main gate of the impressive fort that also leads to the entrance of the park, I couldn’t help but realize that I have been coming to this magnificent place for the last 14 years. I have bittersweet memories of driving up the same road towards the fort in April 2000 and pointing out dead and moribund Oriental White-backed Vultures.

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Find more articles about Long-billed Vulture, Oriental White-backed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Asia-Pacific


Finding Zen on the Himalayas after a nightmare ride to the top by Munir Virani

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

In Hindu mythology, Kali is the Goddess of Death. In Sanskrit, the translation is “She who is black or she who is death”. Kali’s iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence, and, paradoxically in some later traditions, with motherly love. That is what I felt when I rode up the Kali Gandaki Valley in Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area in May of 2013. The Kali Gandaki River is one of the major rivers of Nepal and a left bank tributary of the sacred Ganges in India. In Nepal the river is notable for its deep gorge through the Himalayas and its enormous hydroelectric potential. It has a total catchment area of 46,300 square kilometers (17,900sq.mi), most of it in Nepal. This blog is about my journey up the Kali Gandaki from where we began our survey of Himalayan Vultures and other raptors of the region.

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Kota Shatabdi Express - The Journey from Delhi to Kota

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

The Kota Shatabdi Express from New Delhi

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Find more articles about Long-billed Vulture, Asia-Pacific


From Temples to Tigers: Monitoring Vultures in India

Yeray Seminario — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Namaste!

The Asian Vultures Crisis, as it came to be known, is one of the most compelling stories in wildlife conservation. Vultures in South Asia were dying off by the thousands and entire populations were plummeting. Finally, it was proven that a drug called Diclofenac, widely used to treat cattle and other livestock at the end of the last century, was inadvertently causing the death of these vultures. The Peregrine Fund solved the mystery and now the drug is banned in India, Nepal and Pakistan. To this day, The Peregrine Fund keeps monitoring the vulture populations in India.

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Find more articles about Aplomado Falcon, California Condor, Egyptian Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Pallas's Fish Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Asia-Pacific


The Chambal River Sanctuary in Rajasthan India

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Counting vultures on the Chambal River can be quite an ambivalent experience. We are on the boat from dawn to dusk with an opportunity to see some of the most fascinating wildlife in India. However, it is usually hot and one does end up with a sore behind at the end of the day. The Chambal is one of the only rivers in India that flows from south to north. I was accompanied by Dr Patrick Benson, who has been studying Cape Vultures in South Africa for nearly 30 years and Shiv Kapila, one of my students supported by The Peregrine Fund, who successfully completed a Masters degree at the University College of London. I have been very fortunate to have Pat regularly help me over the last seven years that we have been observing vultures in India. He has a wealth of knowledge and I have benefited tremendously from his vast experience.

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Find more articles about Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Asia-Pacific


Flight to Kedong Valley at Ol-Donyo Kalulu

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Kedong Valley
Kedong Valley
As we prepared to land, I felt my stomach churn. I closed my eyes and saw my life flash by. There wasn’t a landing strip but hundreds of Acacia bushes at the base of the towering Kedong Cliffs. Crash, bump, thud. Suddenly it was all over. Surprisingly, with a tail wind, the landing was smooth. Simon asked me if I was all right. I stared into space for a good 60 seconds. I couldn’t decide what shocked me more – the 40-minute flight from Athi River or the breathtaking views of the Kedong Valley. The scene was like time had stopped in Africa. There were golden rolling savanna plains, imposing cliffs, picturesque hills, and not a person in sight. Unlike the modern-day African image of shiny aluminum roofs, curio shops, and overgrazed livestock pastures, I stared in awe and immersed myself in the beauty of the moment. The sun was going down, the sky was a jigsaw of pastel colors. Harriers soared over the meter-high grasslands. A Lanner Falcon stooped towards a flock of mouse birds. Gerenuk and bat-eared foxes stared nervously at us. This was the face of Africa at its wildest.

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Find more articles about Augur Buzzard, Asia-Pacific


Student Notes: Shakeel Ahmed

Shakeel Ahmed — in Asian Vulture Crisis

"Work as a field researcher in the Asian Vulture Crisis project has been an amazing experience. Before this project, I made so many visits to the college in Dera Ghazi Khan to learn more about birds. After my Masters Degree in Zoology, I was desperate to do something novel and adventurous in bird studies. My enthusiasm found a home on the 17th of November 2000 when I attended a workshop on vultures with lectures given by Dr Munir Virani and Cal Sandfort from The Peregrine Fund. I had never heard about the vulture disaster. I offered my services as a volunteer as a first step toward my new life.

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Student Notes: Muhammad Arshad

Muhammad Arshad — in Asian Vulture Crisis

"Everybody knows that the populations of white-backed vultures are decreasing at an alarming rate, but nobody knows why they are dying. In India researchers pointed out that vultures are in danger. Because of this situation, The Peregrine Fund began the Asian Vulture Crisis Project to know what the cause of the vulture mortality is. In Pakistan; Dholewala, Toawala and Changa Manga were selected to study the vultures.

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Find more articles about White-backed Vulture, Asia-Pacific


Student Notes: Jamshed Chaudhry

Jamshed Chaudhry — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Vulture researcher Jamshed Chaudhry <br />(center) takes measurements from a dead vulture.
Vulture researcher Jamshed Chaudhry
(center) takes measurements from a dead vulture.
"My first experience on the vulture project was to attend the vulture training workshop held on the 17th of November 2000 in B.Z University Multan, where Dr. Munir Virani and Cal Sandfort from The Peregrine Fund came to give presentations. That was the first time I came to know about the decline of vulture populations in Asia. I was inspired by their presentation and my interest in conservation began to develop.

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Student Notes: Shahid Mahmood

Shahid Mahmood — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Vulture researchers Shahid Mahmood (left)<br />and Muhammad Arshad (right) working at<br />Toawala.
Vulture researchers Shahid Mahmood (left)
and Muhammad Arshad (right) working at
Toawala.
"I took charge of studies at Toawala colony in February 2001. It is a larger site than all other study colonies. In the 2000/01 breeding season I counted a maximum of 1607 birds but in 2001/02 my maximum count was 1253. The main vegetation in this area are mango orchards. Cotton and wheat are the main crops. On the west side of Toawala colony (about 5 km) runs the river Chenab. At Toawala site food availability is high and last year, vulture mortality rate was lower than the other sites. But this year mortality rate has increased. Gout in birds is also more common this year. So still there are great numbers of vultures here to study the cause of mortality.

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Veterinary Work on White-Backed Vultures in Pakistan

Lindsay Oaks — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Lindsay Oaks, DVM, PhD, Dip. ACVM is an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. He is a long-time friend and collaborator of The Peregrine Fund’s, and an expert on avian viral diseases. When early studies on dying vultures in India suggested that an infectious, possibly viral, disease might be responsible for the mortality causing the population crash, The Peregrine Fund asked Lindsay to develop and coordinate a worldwide team of laboratories and experts to identify the disease agent as quickly as possible.

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Find more articles about White-backed Vulture, Asia-Pacific


Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Munir Virani in Koshi Camp, Nepal

Munir Virani — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Only those scientists working on the Asian Vulture Crisis project in south Asia know how many chickens have been "sacrificed" in order to save the vultures from extinction.  At this moment, I am in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in lowland Nepal with local biologist Jeet Bahadur Giri (aka JB) and his assistants Badri and Chakra.  We are watching nest number five, one of only two Slender-billed Vulture nests built high up a Kapok tree.  Our lunch comprises of fried chicken (our dinner the previous night was chicken curry and this evening we have been promised a special Nepali chicken treat!!).  In the distance, a small herd of Indian Wild Buffalo glares at us nervously, while the enchanting cry of a Crested Serpent Eagle alerts us of impending perils in this magnificent riverine forest. 

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Find more articles about Long-billed Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Asia-Pacific


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