Ramesh launches consortium to save vultures
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today launched "Saving Asia''s Vultures from Extinction" (SAVE) Consortium at a function here.
The SAVE Consortium has been launched as a group of multi-national vulture experts in order to coordinate the work of the second phase of vulture conservation and to meet the myriad challenges.
SAVE will be instrumental in advocacy, campaigning and fund-raising for the cause.
Addressing the gathering, Ramesh justified his decision to give in principle clearance for a ropeway project from the foothills of Mount Girnar to Ambaji Temple in Girnar wildlife sanctuary, famous for its lions and vultures.
Admitting that he had come under attack from the environmentalists who apprehended its adverse impact on the habitat of endangered vultures, the minister said the project was cleared to end an age-old inhuman practice in the shrine where doli bearers ferry "merchants" from Mumbai and Ahmedabad up the hill.
Terming it as "serious inhuman issue," he said this mode of transportation to the holy hills of Jains and Hindus was "unacceptable" in this century.
On the occasion, Prof Ian Newton, Chairman, SAVE Consortium, said, "In terms of urgency this is probably the greatest bird conservation problem in the world. Three vulture species have reduced by over 99 per cent within just 15 years and still declining."
"It is the first time that a veterinary drug has been implicated in a major conservation problem and we need to take it seriously. It involves not just the loss of three species, but also a huge environmental hygiene problem," he said.
Bombay Natural History Society director Dr Asad R Rahmani said that without removing the killer-drug diclofenac, it will be difficult to recover the vulture population.
He urged the government to see that veterinary use of diclofenac is totally prohibited all over India.
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