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Since 1st March, 1999
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Vulture census shock
- Blame on pollution, drugs for drastic fall

Dhanbad, Dec. 19: Senior forest department officials, who were shaken by the drastic fall in the population of vultures, are trying to devise ways to increase their number.

The recent census report on vultures in the Dhanbad-Bokaro coal belt has put their numbers at 75-80, spread over an area of 250sqkm of forest area.

Dhanbad divisional forest officer Sanjiv Kumar told The Telegraph: “Because of the increasing industrial, medical and environmental pollution, use of insecticides and intake of poisonous articles, including polythenes, these winged creatures are dying fast. Eating the carcass of cattle shortens the life span of vultures.”

These birds that feed on remains of dead animals, though commonly found till a few years back, are now seldom spotted in Tundi, Topchanchi, Maithon, Dugda, Chandrapura, Bokaro and Jharia.

A report regarding the census suggested ways to prevent the declining population of the winged creatures to maintain the equilibrium of ecology.

State forest officials already sent the report to the Union ministry of forests and environment.

This is only the second time after the state was formed that the census of vultures along with other animals, including bear, pangolin, boars, hyena, spotted deer was undertaken that started last winter . The census was undertaken over an area of 20-25km.

Kumar added: “I feel sorry for the fast disappearing vultures, who help keep the surroundings clean.”

The senior official said measures should be taken to help increase the vulture population in the interest of mankind.

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