Sunday, June 12, 2011
Volunteers travel 6,000 km for vulture conservation.
Use of Diclofenac in animals has almost wiped out the vulture population in the Indian sub-continent. Vultures eat the carcasses of livestock which have been administered veterinary Diclofenac and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical. The mechanism is probably renal failure, a known side-effect of the medicine.
Volunteers have already travelled more than 5,000 km, covering more than 16 districts in the state. The tour is said to be the longest distance-wise ever taken out for the conservation of a bird species in the state.
On Tuesday, the members arrived in Rajkot district. "The yatra is aimed at convincing chemists, veterinary officers and other officials concerned to not prescribe Diclofenac for animal treatment as it is banned.
"One of the major reasons for vanishing vultures, the rare and endangered species, is Diclofenac,'' said Viral Prajapati, one of the members of the club. "There is an urgent need for co-ordination between forest department, animal husbandry, food and drugs control department and local volunteers to conserve vultures and stop the use of Diclofenac in the state. These three departments are inter-connected when it comes to vulture conservation and various notifications in the past have been issued by the government department concerned. We wanted them to implement it more strictly and consistently and we have received very good response from them,'' said Ruchi Dave, a vulture conservationist and honorary wildlife warden, Bhavnagar district.
Dave is currently doing her doctoral thesis on 'Conservation of gyps species of vulture in Saurashtra' from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Mumbai.
"We wanted to create a bridge between various stakeholders. We have also contacted local volunteers who are working in this field in their respective districts for this purpose. The constant monitoring, effective implementation of various government notifications and creating food chain for vultures will help in their survival,'' Dave said.
"Their major source of food is carcasses dumped at cattle sheds (panjarapol). But, we have observed that in north Gujarat panjarapol have given contracts for carcasses and as such there is no food for vultures. This kind of problem needs to be addressed urgently,'' said Viral Prajapati.