Dec 21, 2014
LUCKNOW: Critically endangered vultures might be on their way back to the state. At least 900 vultures have been counted in 13 districts in the first ever vulture census conducted in the state. Mainpuri has got maximum 193 vultures followed by Pilibhit with 125 vultures and north and south kheri together counting about 100 vultures. To emphasize on vulture conservation, it is necessary to know how many vultures exist in state and in what pockets. In UP, vulture nests have on and off been spotted in Dudhwa and other protected forest area but this is for the time that vulture census has been conducted. “Final count would come by the end of this month,” said deputy chief wildlife warden (CWW), UP, Vikas Verma. A commonly sighted bird in the past, vultures have almost been wiped out of the ecological map in last two decades. The specie is protected under Schedule (I) of the Wildlife Act. To get the number of vultures present in the country, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), this time, has asked states to also count vultures along with tigers during tiger census exercise. Indian sub-continent is home to nine species of vultures. Out of which the white-backed vulture (Gyps Bengalensis), long-billed vulture (Gyps Indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps Tenuirostris) are the rarest. The first sign of the rapid vulture decline appeared at the Kaladeo National Park in Rajasthan.
According to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), by the year 2000, there were almost no breeding pairs left. The survey that followed showed that in many places the scavengers were missing totally. Leaving aside natural reasons, vultures died due to a drug called ‘diclofenac’ which is given by vets to cattle to treat Mastitis, limps and other disorders. Vultures feeding on the carcasses of the cattle treated with the drug get infected and die from kidney failure, visceral gout and dehydration within few days. Though the drug has been banned by the Government of India (GoI), it is available in the market and veterinary doctors, mostly in far-flung areas still use it to treat livestock.
As posted in Economictimes.indiatimes.com