A 2012 vulture census carried out by the forest department and the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) foundation has found a 54% drop in the vulture population in the district. The 2012 census recorded 121 vultures in the district against the 224 recorded in the last census in 2010.
Those in the know of the trend said the drop could also be because of migration.
Sources in the department said the species that were found included white-rumped vulture, Egyptian vulture and Cinereous vulture. White-rumped vultures, 67, were most commonly found in Ahmedabad city and Daskroi.
Viramgam recorded 50 vultures, some of the Egyptian variety while 4 were found in Detroj. The four found in Detroj were Cinereous vultures.
Department sources said Cinereous vultures are rare although not uncommon and are also referred to as Jatayu. Apart from these areas, the vultures were not sighted in any other parts of the district.
“Most of the sightings in the city happened in and around IIM campus, cantonment area, and Panjrapol,” said the source.
On the decreasing numbers, those associated with the survey said the main culprit remains kite flying, as far as Ahmedabad city is concerned, and the banned drug Diclofenac, as far as rest of the district is concerned. Diclofenac is a drug used to treat pain in both animals and humans.
“Some of the drop in population in Ahmedabad district is also because of migration. We had found congregations not found hitherto in areas in Mehsana and Kheda as well, which points out to migration,” said Kartik Shastri, assistant co-ordinator, vulture cell, Bird Conservation Society Gujarat (BCSG).
Wildlife biologist Aditya Roy said though the use of Diclofenac is banned as a veterinary drug, it continues to be used for humans. “This leads to its availability and continued use despite a ban. Efforts are now on to get the drug banned even for human use,” he said.
Shastri added that since the last census in 2010, around 40 vultures were found injured, due to manja injury and Diclofenac as well, by various NGOs in the city.
Vulture population in A’bad in recent years
2005 - 254
2007 - 279
2010 - 224
2012 - 121