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    Survival Of Scavenger

    10 endangered vultures died at Bamunigaon under Chaygaon police station in Assam’s Kamrup district after reportedly feeding on pesticide-laced cattle carcass.

    Death of vultures in Assam due to poisoning has now become a common phenomenon. Actually, vultures are the unintended victims in the tiff between cattle farmers and predators like feral dogs, leopards, and jackals.

    The villagers to save their cattle, they try to kill the predator by poisoning a sick cow or dog. Vultures come, eat and die. The poisons they use to kill the goats are organophosphates and carbamate pesticides. However, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs such as diclofenac are a much bigger threat than secondary poisoning, experts said.

    Once commonly-used livestock analgesic/anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac is presently banned in India. Poisoning continues to haunt vulture populations across the country.

    It may be recalled, over 100 vultures belonging to three endangered species died in Sivasagar district in 2019 after feeding on pesticide-laced cattle carcass. Once commonly-used livestock analgesic/anti-inflammatory drug ‘Diclofenac’ was identified as one of the main causes

    India is home to nine species of vultures. Assam has six species of vultures – oriental white-backed vulture, slender-billed vulture and king vulture, Himalayan Griffon, Eurasian Griffon and Cinereous vulture.

    Vultures help to clean the environment by eating up decomposed carcasses. Diseases like anthrax, rabies etc also remain under control due to vultures.

    Vultures in the wild are facing extinction at a very rapid rate. Wildlife activists have appealed to the government to create awareness in village areas regarding the need to protect vultures in Assam.

    Persistent efforts should be made by the government, NGOs, wildlife lovers and environmentalists to check this downfall. They should make a joint effort to aware the citizens against the reckless activities which continue to take a toll on this dying group of scavengers in the country.

    Photo credit: britannica.com

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