Pune: With the rapid decline of vulture population across the globe over the last few decades, officials of the Forest Department are planning start a vulture breeding centre in Pune.
Deputy Conservator of Forest (Pune division) RM Naikade said the move is planned following the success of a similar initiative by the Chiplun forest division. “As vultures can be located near Talegaon area, we might plan to start the centre in Talegaon,” added Naikade.
Vultures are known as one of the efficient scavengers and are tertiary consumers. Speaking about the reduction of population of vultures, ornithologist Kiran Purandare said after a study it was found that
vultures die of kidney failure when they eat the carcass of an animal treated with the pain-killer diclofenac. “It was observed that areas which used diclofenac for animals have less population of vultures. Although a ban is placed on diclofenac, I doubt it is a complete ban. In addition, the changing methods of disposal of dead animals have led to food shortage for vultures which is impacting their population growth,” added Purandare.
The ornithologist stressed on the need to spread awareness in local villages about vultures to increase their population. “Local villagers should avoid cutting trees as vultures look for shelter and building their nest on trees. Vulture breeding is a solution to increase their population but it is a lengthy process. Moreover birds should be allowed to breed in their natural habitat and not an artificial one,” added Purandare.
Dr Satish Pande of Ela Foundation, which studies issues related to vultures, said vultures are starving to death due to non-availability of food. “During our study of various vulture sites we used cameras to track the movement of vultures and we found that 50 per cent of chicks of vultures died due to non-availability of food and so there were sites where dead animals were dumped and we found vultures reached these sites to eat the carcass,” added Pande.