Boise State University raptor biologist and Raptor Research Center Director, Marc Bechard, and The Peregrine Fund Director of Pan African Raptor Research Munir Virani took a group of university students to India for a spring break course, “Critically Endangered Vultures of India.” The group got a closer look at India’s critically endangered vultures and other local wildlife. Boise State University Manager of Photographic Services John Kelly accompanied the group to chronicle the sights, sounds, and experiences.
The veterinary drug diclofenac, used to ease joint pain in aging cows, has decimated endemic Indian vulture populations in recent years. When they die, the cows are taken to graveyard fields where vultures have always eaten them. Diclofenac is fatal to vultures; this has caused as much as a 95 percent decline in several species of Indian vultures.
Kelly accompanied the group as they took Jeep safaris to tiger reserves that are home to several vulture species and visited a Bollywood theme park. See a full gallery of photos here.
(Closed captioning is provided with this video)
The 4.5-minute video describes how students learn about raptor conservation challenges in India, including the influences of other species’ conservation like tigers, tourism effects, and poverty. The students elaborate on how the international experience impacts their learning and their worldview.