June 16, 2009

Himalayan Vultures released in Thailand

Dear all,

Ten Himalayan Vultures Gyps himalayensis were released on 9 April 2009 in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (HKK WS), world heritage site in western forest complex, Thailand after being rehabilitated to strength from starvation due to shortage of present-day wild carcases in the country.

Video clip of the pre-release condition
of the vulture in a flight enclosure.

Himalayan Vulture during release
Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary,
9 April 2009. © A.Wuthipong Paphassorn.

The sanctuary is lined along the western route of the species in early winter when a number (10-30 individuals) of the vultures had reportedly entered the country in past 3 years. The western route is the major route of the invasion of the vulture in the country. The other route is north-eastern/eastern route.

The original localities of each vulture.
Map by Chatuphon Sawasdee.

At the time of release, 9 vultures were in second-year and one was third-year. A week after the release, 6 of them were seen in Thung Yai Naresuan WS, another national sanctuary west to the release site and close to the border of Myanmar. Other three vultures had been around a vulture restaurant used as post-release food supply at the release site then disappeared from the site three weeks after the release.

Each released vulture was marked with a green-coloured plastic tag and white letters on the patagium of right wing. The wing-tag reads; THA 17A (number). The number on each wing-tag runs from 06 to 15 (ten vultures).

Himalayan Vulture wing tag (underwing)
Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary,
9 April 2009. © A.Wuthipong Paphassorn.

Report of sightings of the tagged vultures will be greatly appreciated. Please send date/locality and the vulture condition to either trogon (a) gmail.com or c_wanlaya (a) hotmail.com.

The rehabilitation and release of wild raptors is the cooperation of Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Wild Bird Rehab & Release Fund of Bird Conservation Society of Thailand and Kasetsart University Raptor Rehabilitation Unit (KURRU).


Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua
Assistant Professor of Veterinary Pathology
Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok,

Note Himalayan Vultures are increasingly recorded from Mongolia. Please record any sighting, email me. Thanks! Axel

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