Committee to prevent vulture extinction formed in TN

Bird watchers and those into vulture conservation have welcomed the move.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: In a bid to prevent the declining vulture population in Tamil Nadu, the State Environment, Forest and Climate Change department has constituted a state-level committee to take comprehensive measures for vulture conservation.

In a government order dated October 19, the committee will have 10 members, including the principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden, who will act as its chairman.

The committee will have experts from Wildlife Institute of India, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and non-governmental organisations. The committee will ensure the implementation of an action plan for vulture conservation in the State.

Nine species of vultures are recorded from India such as Oriental White-backed vulture, Long-billed vulture, Slender-billed vulture, Himalayan Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, red-headed vulture, Egyptian vulture, Bearded vulture and Cinereous vulture.

Of the nine species, Oriental White-backed vulture, Long-billed vulture, Red-headed vulture and Egyptian vulture are recorded in Tamil Nadu.

The committee will prepare Tamil Nadu Action Plan for Vulture Conservation apart from taking measures to prevent poisoning of cattle carcasses, the principal food of vultures. The committee will scientifically manage carcass dumps and carry out sample analysis of cattle carcasses and manage wild animal carcasses in protected and non-protected areas.

Other responsibilities of the committee are setting up vulture conservation breeding centers and vulture rescue centres to cater to injured and sick vultures. The committee will enhance vulture safe zone network by creating vulture safe zones in the state and public awareness about the need to conserve vulture species through educational initiatives in schools and colleges, field visits, workshops, seminars and media including social media and others.

"The committee will work to eliminate the use of toxic veterinary drugs which are the main reason for mortality of vultures. Setting up vulture care, rescue rehabilitation and breeding centres and bringing synergy between various departments for vulture conservation," Supriya Sahu, department secretary, said in her statement.

Bird watchers and those into vulture conservation have welcomed the move. "A dedicated vulture conservation policy will help to scale up the existing vulture population in the state. Places like Sathyamangalam, Moyar Valley, Thengurmarada and Mudumalai known for vulture population will now get better attention," opined S Bharathidasan, founder of Arulagam, an NGO that works on Vulture conservation.

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