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| Last Updated:: 07/04/2016

Vulture population on rise in Charotar








The vulture population may have witnessed a catastrophic decline. But in the lush green Charotar region of Central Gujarat - their numbers are steadily increasing.

From nearly 35-40 vultures and seven nests that were counted in the twin districts of Anand and Kheda in 2013, the vulture population has now increased to around 75 with 15 plus nests in the Charotar belt.

Wildlife enthusiasts credit for this to Anand-based Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Limited popularly known as Amul Dairy which upon their request not only complied with the statutory ban on drug - diclofenac - but also stopped using ketoprofen, another drug which hasn't been banned, from veterinary services at the village level milk societies.

"We are regularly monitoring vulture population in the Charotar region since 2013. In 2013, we had counted 35-40 vultures and seven nests. This number increased to around 55 vultures and 10 successful nests in 2014," said Dhaval Patel, managing trustee of Voluntary Nature Conservancy (formerly known as Vidyanagar Nature Club).

Wild life enthusiasts were pleasantly surprised when they counted around 75 vultures in 2015 with 15 plus nests. "There were four different species that we came across including the long-billed vulture, the white-rumped vulture, the Eurasian griffon vulture and the Egyptian vulture," said Patel.


He added that unlike in districts like Surendranagar and Mehsana where each year around five to seven vultures are found dead, in last few years, volunteers have found only one dead vulture in the wild while one vulture who had got injured during Uttarayan had later succumbed to death in the region. 


"Since over last three years, we have banned both the drugs - diclofenac and ketoprofen - which were earlier used for anti-inflammatory treatment. Our 200 plus trained veterinary doctors have switched over to meloxicam and nimulsid which don't have any impact on residuals," said Dr K Rathnam, managing director of Amul Dairy, which has nearly 1,200 village level milk societies under its umbrella.


"Vultures started getting safe food in Charotar belt which is home to over 6,000 palm trees in Nagrana-Neja area of Khambhat region," said Kartik Shashtri, trustee of Jivdaya Charitable Trust and member of the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group.


"Some of the birds from Ahmedabad and Surat have migrated to Charotar. Just the IIM-A campus was home to 70-75 vultures which has now decreased to 12-13 vultures," added Shashtri.





Source: The Times of India