UWICE tagged a Griffon for the first time

The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in collaboration with the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany has tagged a Himalayan Griffon for the first time.

The Himalayan Griffon vulture was feeding on a carcass of a cow when sighted by a group by the villagers at Wamsis Village near Trashi Ghadhen Lhakhang, in Ura under Bumthang. The vul¬ture when examined by the ornithologist from UWICE weighed in at 8.30 kgs and its wing cord measured 73 cm suitable for back-packing of the eObs GPRS (global pack-age radio system) tag on the bird. The Himalayan Grif¬fon was tagged with eObs GPRS tag and released from Trashi Gadhen Lhakhang in Bumthang.

According to an ornithologist, UWICE, Sherab, the tag is the newest technology which will help the ornitholo¬gists to better understand the bird’s movement and spatial use of habitats in the summer and winter seasons. “This is the first bird on earth to carry an eObs GPRS tag,” Sherab said.

The tagged Griffon was named Thangkar Thuub, and such birds are found in the alpine meadows and the Tibetan plateau. The GPRS tag provides live feeds of the bird’s activities and behavior, based on position and three-axis acceleration data, and would also send an email each day to researchers at UWICE informing of its activity and location.

The research team has al-ready received data via email from the tagged Himalayan Griffon and as of May 29, the data sent from the tag Griffon has indicated it has travelled about 32 kilometers so far.

The information collected from such an experiment will be used for understanding the Griffon’s biology and help il¬lustrate how these birds thrive in Himalayas. The information would be further used to develop strategies for better conservation and habitat as-sessment and also safeguard the iconic trans-Himalayan species.

The eObs GPRS tags to monitor the high altitude bird migrants in real time is donat¬ed by the Max-Planck Institute based in Germany. It is a collaborative research on bird movement between the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Rodolfzell, Germany and UWICE.

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