The Telegraph
Monday , February 10 , 2014
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Vulture comeback

Vultures are back to the Ganga diara, much to the cheer of bird lovers, after around two decades.

“We found such a large number of vultures after the devastating Kosi floods in 2008 when many bodies of villagers and carcass of cattle used to be washed afloat. But this season, the birds have crossed the Ganga — something being sighted after a long interval,” said D.N. Choudhary, a senior teacher in the TNB College’s zoology department and an active member in Mandar Nature Club, a local NGO fighting for the cause of birds and conservation of nature.

He added that vultures had been spotted in Purnea and Kishanganj in 2012 and 2013.

Echoing Choudhary, Ramanandan Singh, an old-timer of the Makanpur locality, said the vultures at the diara are back after 20-22 years.

Choudhary, along with Jainandan Mandal, another activist of the NGO, during their recent survey of birds in the floodplains of the Ganga in Bhagalpur, observed seven vultures at the diara near Rannuchak and two others near Makandpur in Nathnagar block. The birds were engaged in feeding on the carcasses of cattle. Two juvenile birds in the flock were identified by Choudhary and Mandal on Saturday. “Local villagers at Rannuchk told us that they have witnessed big flocks of vultures comprising more than 10 birds,” Mandal said.

Choudhary added the MGO has also decided to initiate mass awareness campaign among villages so that people could not harm the vultures, commonly known as social scavenger.

Of the nine species found in the Indian sub-continent, three — white-rumped vultures, long-billed vultures and slender-billed vultures — are on the verge of extinction. Diclofenac, a drug used frequently in the cattle, was proved to be fatal for the vultures as it led to serious kidney infection in the birds.

“We have started visiting the places where people reported to find its nests. At present, the flock is roaming near Rannuchak and Makanpur for the last two-three days,” Choudhary added.

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