As the Parsi community in India is facing serious concern for ensuring traditional disposal of bodies of their dead due to alarming decline in vulture population, members of this highly endangered species from Assam are coming to their rescue.
The Parsis feed the mortal remains of the dead to the vultures as per their religious beliefs and the steep decrease in the vulture population (almost 99 per cent decline in the past year) has led to serious concerns among the community, with wealthy members also funding projects for vulture conservation.
Moreover, the vanishing number of these natural scavengers is also worrying the environmentalists and the International Union for Convention of Nature (IUCN) meet held at Bangkok in 2005 had entrusted the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) as the nodal agency for carrying out efforts towards saving the vultures from extinction in India.
As part of its conservation efforts, the BNHS has been translocating vultures from Assam to its two captive breeding centres in Pinjore in Haryana and Raja Bhatowa in West Bengal. A team of the BNHS, led by its Director Asad Ramani, was recently in the states eastern regions to take the vultures, a mission they had been executing with permission from the state government for the past few years.
The low use of Diclofenac in the state ensure that the vultures found here are relatively free from the effects of this drug and hence, are in high demand for captive breeding.
The large-scale use of Diclofenac in other parts of the country is a major cause of death of vultures as these scavengers eat carcasses of domesticated animals that had been administered veterinary diclofenac and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical.
Vultures are still found in good numbers in the state and the BNHS also has plans to open a captive breeding centre in the state. The vulture population has declined about 98 per cent in the last decade in the country, with its total number reduced to a few hundred from thousands.
Original article here.