Jagan Nath Adhikari, Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai
Abstract: This study was aimed to analyze impact of vulture restaurant on vulture population and local community. The research was also focused the present status, habitat preference and change in peoples perception after the establishment of vulture restaurant. The study was based on the distance sampling method in which twelve transects were established for the monitoring of vultures and their habitats. Individual and focus group discussion were performed to identify peoples perception towards vulture restaurant and vulture conservation etc. The study was mainly concentrated in and around the vulture restaurant and a broad survey was performed to know the occupancy of vultures in other parts of Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts. Altogether 162 individuals of 5 species of vultures were recorded in 2016. White rumped vultures were the most abundant (n=75) followed by Himalayan griffon vulture (n=67), Egyptian vulture (n=12), Red headed vulture (n=5) and Slender billed vulture (n=3). Altogether 31 nests (30 nests of White rumped vultures and 1 Egyptian vulture) were recorded in 2016. In contrast, these species of vultures were not reported before the establishment of vulture restaurant. Local people shared their experiences that there were abundant numbers of vultures 20-25 years ago. However, this restaurant is a key success for coming back of the vultures after a very long time. The perceptions of the local people towards the vulture and vulture restaurant have been changed after the establishment of vulture restaurant as they are getting benefits from ecotourism and changing their minds towards the protection of such sweeper of the nature. Most of the locals (88 %) were positive towards the vulture and vulture restaurant. The study further revealed that there was a great role of vulture restaurant in providing the safe diclofenac free carcass for vultures in different places in regular basis and local people were also got benefits of vulture restaurant through tourism to improve their livelihood.
Keywords: Vulture, Vulture restaurant, Diclofenac, Carcass, Chitwan National Park