Where are the Vultures?

A poster will be released by a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) India on the day in 9 languages. Bring Back the Vulture highlights the 9 species of vultures found in the country.
Griffon vulture
Griffon vultureReuters

CHENNAI: Wildlife activists, ornithologists and bird watchers across the south India are all gearing up for International Vulture Awareness Day that falls on Saturday (September 3).

A poster will be released by a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) India on the day in 9 languages. Bring Back the Vulture highlights the 9 species of vultures found in the country.

“With initiatives like these, we hope the numbers increase, which will enable their contribution to ecology at some scale,” said Ravi Singh, secretary general and CEO, WWF India.

Vultures continued to die even though the use of veterinary diclofenac was banned in 2006. “But multi-dose vials of human formulations to treat cattle were available in 30, 50 and 100 ML,” explained S Bharathidasan, member, TN State Board for Wildlife. “Thankfully, the usage has reduced and now less than 2% carcasses available to vultures have diclofenac against 11% before the ban.”

In Tamil Nadu, Sathyamangalam and Moyar valley serves as the connective habitat for the vulture population. “As a scavenger, vultures play a huge role in controlling soil fertility. It also helps to track zoonotic infections if any,” pointed out A Kumaraguru, conservation scientist and member of Sathyamangalam Tiger Conservation Authoritity.

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