The White-backed Vulture colony at Changa Manga breeding facility has fledged three new chicks this year! This brings the group size up to 25, and is the best breeding year yet. It really shows what a brilliant job facility supervisor, Abdul Ghaffar, is doing.
Abdul is responsible for the day to day running of the centre and has been working there for almost six years, which means he has built up excellent knowledge about the birds and the project. He is extremely meticulous in his work, understands the behaviour, and needs of the vultures. He always picks up any changes in their behaviour or condition and makes sure all the birds have the best care.
This project is in partnership with WWF-Pakistan. As well as the breeding centre in Changa Manga, Punjab Province, there is an established Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ) in Sindh Province, southern Pakistan, and a provisional Vulture Safe Zone (pVSZ) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in northern Pakistan. Vulture Safe Zones are areas that are kept safe from harmful drugs (NSAIDs) in order to conserve wild vulture populations. In future, Vulture Safe Zones will also act as sites for the release of captive-bred vultures.
As part of the project, vulture populations and NSAID availability within the VSZs are monitored regularly and we are working to fit tracking units to individual vultures in order to understand their movements and behaviour. Surveys of NSAID use and availability were recently completed in Punjab Province, funded by the Punjab Wildlife Department, showing the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to conserving vultures.
The pVSZ in the AJK region of northern Pakistan is an important breeding site for White-backed Vultures and possibly Egyptian Vultures, but initial surveys have revealed widespread availability and use of diclofenac, so it is imperative that project activities extend into this area. This part of the project is still in the development phase, and we are extremely grateful for any support towards the establishment of the pVSZ in AJK. You can help to offset some of our lost income during these troubled times by making a donation towards our Pakistan Vulture Restoration Project.