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“Critically Endangered Vultures of India” Course Spring 2015

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‚Äôs 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.

Vulture perched on a tree in India.
Vulture in India. (Photo credit: John Kelly)

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.

Boise State students standing among columns of the Red Fort in Dehli, India, ready to study vultures
Boise State students in India ready to study vultures – At the Red Fort in Delhi (Photo credit: John Kelly)

Watch YouTube Video About the Students’ Experience in India

(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.