Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Vulture nests to hit Girnar ropeway plan?

Vulture nests to hit Girnar ropeway plan?
The Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The ropeway project on the Girnar mountain could be in trouble. The vulture census which ended on Monday has revealed 22 nesting sites in the region and presence of about 69 vultures in the area. Wildlife experts have been opposing this project for fear that it would have an adverse impact on the vulture conservation programme.

Protests against the ropeway forced Union minister of forest and environment Jairam Ramesh to personally visit the site before it got the final approval of the National Wildlife Board chaired by him.

Officials in the forest department said that the cliffs of Girnar mountain provided nesting and roosting sites to three species of endangered vulture species. Also, the area has been declared a sanctuary and houses a sizeable lion population as well. Forest officials say from a population of over 2,500 vultures, only about 1,450 vultures remained and further construction of the ropeway would wipe out even these numbers.

Dinesh Goswami and the team of Prakruti Nature club which was asked to survey the area confirmed sighting at least 69 vultures in the area. He said that they had taken photographs of 22 nests in the area — two each in Datar and Jogni hills and 18 in and around Velnath hills. Vultures are listed as schedule-I species under the Wildlife Protection Act. Activists say the construction of a ropeway and constant movement of vehicles could disturb the birds.

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