Raptor Research and Conservation Foundation Scholarship

Raptor Research and Conservation Foundation (RRCF), Mumbai signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (Sacon), Coimbatore on 19th July 2018 for sponsorship of one meritorious candidate for MSc. Course at the Sacon campus. The comprehensive syllabus over a 2-year period covers training and education in ornithology and conservation biology that includes all aspects of wildlife biology, ecology and conservation science and policy.

Mr. Sangeeth Sailas Santhosh has been selected to receive the Raptor Research and Conservation Foundation’s Scholarship. We wish him the very best!

Workshop on ‘’Securing Vulture Populations in Southern India’’ 8th & 9th January 2018 in Udhagamandalam (Ooty), The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. VCWG-SI Resolutions

This workshop sponsored by RRCF and organised by Dr. B. Ramakrishnan, Assistant Professor, Govt. Arts College, Udhagamandalam brought together many vulture researchers, toxicologists, conservation organisations & NGO’s along with senior forest department officials from the southern States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. to discuss, evaluate and endorse future action and recovery plans for the conservation of vultures. This was followed by a field visit on 10th January 2018 where many participants, escorted by forest guards, walked a little distance to observe nesting vultures. There was a bit of nervous excitement when elephants trumpeted in the river down below and a short detour had to be made to avoid confrontation.

Research Opportunities

Demography and Population Dynamics – Population estimates based on correct identification (aging and sexing from plumage can be a difficult task) and census/survey techniques for professional surveys or habitat-focused surveys; raptor diversity, distribution and abundance; studying raptor niches (e.g., fishing eagles in riverine habitats, owls in thickly wooded patches), survival and longevity, etc.

Breeding Dynamics – Our scientific knowledge is limited even for common raptor species and hardly any information is documented for raptors, such as those inhabiting dense forests and mangroves. Detailed studies are required on courtship, mating, nest size, clutch size, incubation, brooding, daily food requirements, parental role, hatchling success, brood sizes, survival rates, recording number of breeding pairs, etc.

Migration Studies – Our knowledge of migrating raptor species is very limited which means we don’t know how many migrate, when do they migrate, are there any specific routes: high mountain passes, through valleys, routes along the shore lines? As they scatter further into India, where do they feed and forage, do they remain in the same area or move again. At some point of time in the future and gain more information on their migration patterns we will have observation stations where regular raptor counts can be done during the migratory season. This provides an ideal opportunity where public participation will be welcome.

Study flight paths, speed, altitude, mode of flight, mortality, effects of hunting, trapping on the routes, resting or stopover points, roost sites, and final wintering sites; interaction between resident and migratory species. Identify and establish main migration routes: vulnerable stretches to be targeted for protection, inventory of stop-over resting points, roost sites, and final wintering refuges and sites; determine hunting and trapping on the routes.

Other aspects such as territory size, territory permanence, habitat quality and determining minimum areas required in biotopes, such as forest, grassland, wetland to support raptors; energetics; assessing food requirements; facets of predation. Avian genetics and identifying environment toxins.

India signed the Raptors MoU on Monday 7 March 2016, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  India joins the increasing international coalition to conserve migratory raptors.

Full details are on the Raptors MoU website: http://www.cms.int/raptors/en/news/india-signs-international-agreement-conserve-migratory-birds-prey.

The Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MoU is looking for a consultant Coordinator to oversee the implementation of theSaker Falcon Global Action Plan (SakerGAP). Full job description and qualification criteria are on the UN Careers Portalhttps://careers.un.org/lbw/jobdetail.aspx?id=56164 where also applications should be submitted by 30 March 2016.

If you have questions regarding the above items, you may contact Nick P. Williams, Programme Officer – Birds of Prey (Raptors), Coordinating Unit of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia, tel: + 971 2 6934 624, email: nick.williams@cms.int.”

Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra: Ramit Singal and his birder friends heard the low hoots of the Forest Owlet and excitedly went in search of it. After tracking the call for about 10 minutes they got closer but the Owlet flew away a couple of hundred meters ahead. Another 10 minutes of careful searching yielded the Forest Owlet calling persistently from atop a Terminalia tree. They spent more than 15 minutes in the company of this charismatic species and even watched it being mobbed for a while by a Red-vented Bulbul, Common Woodshrike and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia. The Owlet was unperturbed and when the troublesome birds left, it closed its eyes and kept silent. Sound recording by Ramit Singal.

Read about the Forest Owlet study being executed by Dr. Prachi Mehta of WRCS, Pune under our PROJECTS


A Forest Owlet calls….

SAVING VULTURES – Health Ministry Notice *

The Government of India issued a gazette notice effectively restricting usage of Diclofenac production for human formulations in a single 3ml dose only. Diclofenac is an inexpensive non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and is effective for treating pain and inflammation in cattle and humans but is toxic for vultures. Hopefully, strict control leads to a complete ban on this NSAID being used for treating cattle.

TRUST Certificate bearing No 46479 dated 26.03.2014 to Raptor Research & Conservation Foundation.