VULTURE CENSUS ACROSS TAMIL NADU, KERALA, KARNATAKA

  • The State-level Vulture Conservation Committee (SVCC) has decided to conduct a synchronised vulture census in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. The census has been planned before March as the nesting season is in progress, Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas Reddy has said.
  • At the SVCC’s first meeting held on January 25, other conservation plans — such as operationalising rescue centres in Tirunelveli, Tiruchi and Coimbatore; designating a Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ) around the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve; and future strategies — were discussed.
  • “Since this was the first meeting, there were a lot of ideas that came from different members. The only concrete decision taken was about the census,” Mr. Reddy said.
  • Around 60 villages, 20 each in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, have been identified as hotspots, based on vultures’ feeding and nesting areas and areas where there is a notable cattle-carnivore conflict, said S. Bharathidasan, secretary, Arulagam, a non-profit organisation working towards environmental conservation.

Animal welfare camps

  • Bharathidasan, who is also a SVCC member, said proposals had been made for conducting animal welfare camps, sensitising people to ethical animal husbandry, and providing opportunities for sale of pesticides based on cow dung.
  • He said that designating the VSZ would be an important step in conservation. “Vulture Safe Zone is only a concept now; it must be legalised by the government so the do’s and don’ts can be implemented,” he said.
  • The SVCC consists of the Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry; the Director of Drugs Control, Food Safety and Drug Administration Department; experts; and NGOs working towards vulture conservation.
  • Bharathidasan said steps must be taken gradually for the entire State — and not just areas around Mudumalai — to become a safe zone for vultures.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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