Sixth Regional steering committee for vulture conservation meeting was held in Kathmandu Nepal on 28 June 2017. The meeting brought together a number of organizations and experts from vulture range countries in South Asia Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to develop and implement a regional response to save the critically threatened South Asian vulture species from extinction.
The meeting was chaired by the Secretary for Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Mr. Prakash Mathema, under the Co-chairmanship of the Deputy Regional Director of IUCN Asia Dr. Tej Pal Singh, comprised of member delegates and representatives from government line ministries, national vulture recovery committee, conservation partners, institutions, researchers and specialists. Representatives from Nepal included those from the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Department of Forests, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), IUCN Nepal, WWF Nepal and ZSL Nepal.
Dr. Maheshwar Dhakal, joint secretary, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation presented the review of 5th RSC meeting minutes and followed the country-wise presentations made by the respective delegates from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. These respective presentation highlighted both ex-situ and in-situ vulture conservation initiatives being implemented in the context of each member country.
Some highlighted updates of the meeting were related to the progress on vulture conservation and breeding centers (VCBC), the establishment of vulture safe zones (VSZ), Vulture Safe Feeding Site (VSFS), pharmacy surveys, awareness and advocacy, carcass monitoring and sampling, activities related to vulture tagging, release and monitoring, research and findings with country-specific success cases, lessons and challenges. In addition to the RSC member countries presentation Mr. Krishna Bhusal, Vulture Conservation Program Officer at BCN presented the pioneer initiation and progress on Nepal Vulture Release Plan where six female captive vultures were transferred to release aviary from VCBC as release birds. Dr. Chris Bowden from SAVE (Saving Asia's Vulture from Extinction) also shared on some positive interventions being realized in the overall species revival, besides highlighting existing gaps for further concerned effort and integration. Nepal along with its other RSC members fully committed to heighten focus in some of the persistent challenges in the South Asia Vulture Recovery Programme.
Nepal handed over the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) Chair to Bangladesh on this meeting and the 7th RSC meeting is expected to be conducted by Bangladesh later this year in November.