Thursday, July 3, 2008

Conservation panel to help vulture population growth

Express News Service
Posted online: Monday , June 30, 2008 at 12:03:16

Vadodara, June 29 Vulture’s population has fallen from 2,646 last year to less than 1,500 this year
The state Forest Department has formed a Vulture Conservation Committee in a few cities across Gujarat in a bid to create a Diclofenac-free environment for the safety of the apex scavengers.

The committee comprises NGOs, officials from the Veterinary Department, Food and Drug Control and Panjrapols (shelter for animals) trustees.

Pradeep Khanna, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, Gujarat, said, “A meeting was held with NGOs and the Drug Control Department in the state a few days ago to orient them about using alternatives to Diclofenac.”

As per the latest survey by the Forest Department, vulture population in the state has fallen from 2,646 last year to less than 1,500 this year. According to the Forest Department, the continued use of the banned veterinary drug, Diclofenac has had a big role in depleting the population of the birds. “The Forest Department is trying to replace Diclofenac with Meloxicam and has formed a committee to implement this action plans to combat the vulture decline in the state,” said Khanna.

“In a span of around six months, we have already sold 21,000 Meloxicam at a subsidised rate in Panjrapols. However, Meloxicam is still available at very few centres in the state,” Khanna added.

Snehal Patel from the Surat Nature’s Club said their organisation, along with other trustees in the state, were invited for an interaction with the Forest Department to help combat the decline in the vulture population. Meanwhile, the captive breeding centre for vultures will be completed in five months at the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has recently released a grant of Rs 40 lakh for the purpose.


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