Rare vulture greets bird lovers in Thane

The Eurasian Griffon Vulture, which usually inhabits the northern parts of India, was spotted in Thane. PIC/ Sandeep DandekarThe Eurasian Griffon Vulture, which usually inhabits the northern parts of India, was spotted in Thane. PIC/ Sandeep Dandekar

In a rare occurrence, a wildlife lover from Thane was greeted by the delightful sight of a Himalayan vulture sitting on a pole outside his balcony. Bird experts said the sighting of this particular species in Mumbai or its surroundings is unheard of. The ones residing at Malabar Hill are the Bengal Vulture or the Long Billed Vulture, which are native to the area.

“Around 9.30 am on Monday, I suddenly saw a hoard of kites and crows hovering over our building. I went to the balcony to check what had happened and was surprised to see a huge vulture sitting on a pole.

“There have been hardly any sightings of these vultures in Mumbai, so seeing this beautiful creature is something I will cherish for life,” said Sandeep Dandekar a resident of Louiswadi in Thane.

Dandekar immediately took pictures of the vulture, which posed quietly for around 30 minutes before flying off.

The vulture, also known as Gyps himalayensis, comes under the near-threatened category, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. This means that these vultures may be threatened by extinction in the near future.

According to noted bird expert Adesh Shivkar, “The bird is commonly seen in the Himalayan foothills and usually the juvenile birds of the species are known to stray to areas that are far away from the region of their birth. In case of the recent sighting at Thane, something similar may have happened.”

According to the IUCN website this species is found in western China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, through the Himalayan mountain range in India, Nepal and Bhutan, to central China and Mongolia.

“Finding the vulture here in Thane is definitely good for the environment. Many years back, vulture sightings had been recorded in Thane, but as per experts, this one is the Eurasian Griffon Vulture, which inhabits the northern parts of India typically above Gujarat and below Kashmir, extending up to Arunachal Pradesh. 

Bird guides show that this particular species has never been spotted in the Mumbai-Thane region before. So, the question is how did this one land here?” said nature lover Abhay Pawagi, who is also a well-known snake rescuer in Thane.

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