Jorbeer Conservation Reserve, situated in the south-east of the city in the desert district of Bikaner in Rajasthan state, is a government-approved site where carcasses of the cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, and camel are discarded.
An abundance of carrion at the site has made it the largest and one of the important winter grounds for vulture species in Asia and it also falls under the migratory routes of raptors from Eurasia and Mongolia. It is spread over 20-26 km.
VSSS team members after finishing a plantation audit in Bikaner chose to visit this conservation reserve.
Entering the site the first impression is of eerieness which mainly comes from the bird species present at the reserve feasting on the carrion.
Copious amounts of plastic stuck on bushes & trees, bones and body parts, such as ears of cattle, randomly lying around, few individuals skinning the carcasses of dead animals, and raptors wheeling above the carcasses adds to the eerieness. On top of that, the smell emanating from the carcasses makes it even more unbearable for the faint-hearted. Some feral dogs can also be spotted leisurely lazing under the trees and feasting on carrion.
The site is littered with extensive amount of plastic that it made us want to question the individual present at the site about the source. He told us the plastic accumulated comes from the stomach of the carcasses of cattle, it consumed during its lifetime. A clear indication of the havoc which is being wrecked due to the intrusion of human species. Mass mortality among vultures has also been reported from here. Egyptian Vulture an endangered species has experienced a dramatic decline in the population mainly due to the poisoned carcasses which are being dumped at the site. Ironic that natures clean up crew is itself being cleaned up.
Vultures which can be spotted here are:
- Long – billed Vulture
- Eurasian Griffon Vulture
- Himalayan Griffon Vulture
- King Vulture
- Cinerous Vulture
- Egyptian Vulture
Apart from vultures this place is a refuge for species such as Steppe eagle, Tawny Eagle, Laggar falcon, Kestrel, Long-legged Buzzard, Shikra, Black Kite, Black Shouldered Kite, Tawny Eagle and Imperial eagle.
Species we spotted:
- Steppe Eagle
- Egyptian Vulture