Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sharp decline in number of vultures, just 1,043 left in state

Sharp decline in number of vultures, just 1,043 left in state
Times of India

The government appears to be doing precious little for improving the vulture count in the state. While their numbers have dropped to 1043 which is the lowest count registered so far, the government has so far spent only Rs 19.70 lakh for their conservation in the last two years.

The count recorded in 2007 was 2,539 and ever since then, there has been a sharp decline. Their number was 1,431 in 2008 and 1043 in May 2010.

In written reply to a question from Wakaner MLA Mohammed Javed Pirzada, environment and forest minister Ganpat Vasava said that apart from an awareness campaign to conserve vultures, the government has also started a vulture breeding centre at Sakkarbaugh Zoo in Junagadh. In addition to this, the union government has banned the use of Diclofenac treatment by vets, especially on cattle.

Vasava claimed that the centre at Sakkarbaugh has started showing results in the form of a White-rumped vulture being bred successfully. Two vultures have been born there in the last 2 years.

Officials said that vulture conservation in Gujarat has got a major boost with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) selecting Mahuva and Ahmedabad among the six provisional vulture safe zones (VSZ) in India.

A recent survey has indicated that the current state-wide estimated population of 'critically endangered' Gyps vultures is 938, White-rumped vultures is 577 and Long-billed vultures is 361.

The survey has shown a reduction of 11.34 per cent in the population of Gyps vultures between 2010 and 2012. In 2010, there were 1,065 Gyps vultures. In the survey carried last year, 97 Egyptian vultures and eight Red-headed vultures have been enumerated.

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