Mass mortality of birds on railway track genetically identified as critically endangered Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India
Recent field survey in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS), Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, India amazed us to locate several bird carcasses on the railway track and prompted to identify the species and possible reasons of mortality from the deteriorated body remains. Surprisingly, DNA analysis with conserved mitochondrial genes i.e. Cytochrome b (Cyt b) and 16S rRNA, identified carcass originated from a Critically Endangered Red-headed Vulture (RHV: Sarcogyps calvus). The present study exhibits mtDNA based identification to be very efficient in species identification and raises concern for the mortality of RHV due to the possible bird-train collisions. We hope this study will get attention of the wildlife conservationists, forest officials and administrators in order to gather long term monitoring data on the mortality of RHV and other animals by train-hits or associated factors and suggest conservation strategies for wildlife management in and around RWS.
KeywordsTrain-hits Mass mortality DNA barcoding Critically endangered Sarcogyps calvus Wildlife management
Authors thank Forest Officials, Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh for providing necessary permission and logistic support during the field survey.
The study was supported by the in-house grant and facilities provided by the Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata.
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