According to a report published in The Times Of India, as per a survey conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the state forest department of Karnataka, it has been found that vultures are decreasing across the Western Ghats of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
A survey across the tiger reserves of Karnataka states that the number of vultures across the region was ten thousand two decades ago. But it has come down to a few hundred at present. This has become a concern for development. The survey that was made over the forests which are spread across three states says that the lives of vultures in that region are a thing of concern. Over the tiger reserves of Nagarahole, BRT, and Bandipur, the population of vultures is rapidly declining.
According to sources, previously during different periods, surveys were conducted in these three states but now they are conducting the surveys at the same time. This synchronized survey is done in order to prevent data duplication in Waynad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Madumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, and across three other tiger reserves in Karnataka.
Exposure To Diclofenac Is Leading To Decline
While speaking to TOI, the Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve Ramesh Kumar said that the survey began on the morning of Saturday, last weekend and ended on the evening of Sunday. It brought out the reports that the population of vultures has been declining across those regions in Karnataka since the 2000s. Over the past two decades, these birds were exposed to diclofenac which happens to be an anti-inflammatory drug. This drug was used over the cattle after the vultures preyed on them.
But Deep J Contractor who happens to be the project director of BRT Reserve for Tigers has said that in recent years the population of the vultures has started to increase again after the government imposed a ban on the usage of the drug.
Over two hundred members which include volunteers and experts were a part of conducting the survey. The survey at Bandipur on Friday was performed after giving all the required training to the members who participated in it. The landscape was divided based on more than forty locations where the species of these birds are found frequently. Areas were also marked based on dead animals who were prey to vultures and were mostly noticed across different regions along with the nesting places of vultures too. The survey has also found that White-rump vultures dominated across those areas mostly.
The surveillance of each of these areas was done by a team consisting of three members. The team included an expert in vultures, a forest watcher or a volunteer, and a forest beat officer.
Different categories of vultures such as red-headed vultures, white-rumped vultures, and long-billed vultures too have been noticed across Bandipur and Nagarhole. These regions share their landscapes with Wayanad of Kerala and Madumalai of Tamil Nadu. Last year, across the backwaters of Kabini, a huge number of vultures were noticed when the elephant Bogeshwara died.