Jorhat, July 1: The Bombay Natural History Society has asked Jadab Payeng, the “forest man” of Assam, to help spread awareness to protect vultures, which are facing extinction mainly because of “illegal” use of veterinary drug diclofenac.
A Society official said here today the NGO has started spreading awareness in six districts of Upper Assam and parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh with Majuli island as the core area to release the vultures, which are at present being hand-raised at the Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre in Rani near Guwahati
“We have to first ensure that this particular area is totally sanitised and people become aware that vultures should be protected,” the official said. He said it would take about two to three years before the birds are released in this particular area.
Vultures suffer from kidney failure when they consume an animal carcass that has been administered diclofenac.
The official said the Society needed help from the people, mainly people like Payeng to protect these birds.
Research has shown a 98 per cent decline in vulture population in Southeast Asia owing to the consumption of diclofenac-treated livestock carcasses.
Seven vultures, including three critically endangered slender-billed ones, died after consuming a carcass of a cow at Lajunpathar in Tinsukia district a couple of months back.
A few days earlier, carcasses of three Himalayan griffon vultures, along with three ill birds, were recovered from near a carcass at Patiagaon near the bank of the Brahmaputra here. The two ill birds were taken to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga for treatment and were released later.
Payeng said he himself has witnessed the death of a few vultures near the forest, which he had raised along the bank of the Brahmaputra here a few years back. “I have no idea whether the particular vultures had nests in the forest but two vultures had died after consuming a carcass of a cow.”