One of the prime candidates
to be wiped out, the vulture population of Pakistan has shown some signs of recovery over the last five years, however, the natural “garbage disposal” remains in danger of facing threats from a variety of angles as indicated by experts.
The population of various species of vulture decreased around the mid-1990s because of the consumption of animal carcasses that contained traces of fatal cattle-related drugs.Other than the shortage of food, drugs and the increase in tree cutting especially ones with nests for vultures, are all major factors to the decline in vultures.
The critically endangered Oriental white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and the long-billed the vulture (Gyps indicus) have decreased across the majority regions by more than 90% since the mid-1990s according to the aalatest report released by the Pakistan section of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The Pakistani northeastern
Tharparkar district, mostly it’s Thar desert, which borders India is home to the largest number of vultures. It is with scattered locations in the southern Punjab, Azad Kashmir, and the southwest Balochistan province. Tropical Birds
Based on a survey in 2016-17 that was conducted by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) according to the IUCN survey, the number of vultures was recorded mostly within the Nagarparkar and Islamkot regions of Tharparkar and was estimated between 500-600. The majority of vultures that were found within Pakistan comprise Egyptian vultures, which are followed by white-rumped, long-billed and red-headed vultures.
The Wildlife Department of the southern Sindh province, working in partnership with the WWF created an Vulture Safe Zone in 2012 that encompasses an area of 100 km (62 miles) in Nagarparkar to help maintain and increase the population of vultures.
Ornithologists have recently observed hundreds of vultures in the water reservoir of Gorano within Gorano in the Thar desert, triggering hopes of keeping the bird from going extinct.The reservoir was constructed with the help of water taken from the coalfield.Additionally, 60 new nests of vultures were also discovered throughout both the Nagarparkar and Islamkot regions.
“We observed a large number of vultures around 300 on the water reservoir during July. This provides us with new information for further investigation and research,” Naveed Ali Soomro who is the head of IUCN’s vulture conservation program said to Anadolu Agency.
In the end, Soomro said, something
certain about the growth in bird numbers could be determined following the upcoming breeding session in January.At this point we don’t know if the birds that gathered here [from other areas within the province] to get water since it was a dry season. Things will be settled in the coming breeding season,” he said.
Soomro mentioned better road infrastructures as the primary reason for food shortages that ultimately resulted in vultures’ relocation to neighbouring India.“Until some time ago the vultures were able to get enough food to live in places like Thar. However, the development of roads has reduced the death rate of the animals since the locals sell the animals that are suffering or transport them to larger cities to receive medical treatment” He opined.
So as a result, he went on declare that a large number of vultures has migrated to India which is where a significant number of cows that are old are allowed to die naturally and later to be eaten by Vultures.Cows are considered to be a sacred animal to millions of Hindus and disputes regarding the slaughter of cows in India usually result in mob lynchings and community violence.
There are signs of improvement
“There are some signs of improvement, however we’re not able to declare that the vulture population has stabilized. It’s still under threat.” Soomro said.The conservation group will establish a safe zone that will comprise three more zones within Tharparkar.Uzma Khan is a Lahore-based analyst, who frequently writes about the environment, was in some ways with Soomro.
“Despite positive indications, we aren’t able to claim that there has been an increase in the number of vultures. We can however claim that it has halted the decrease,” Khan told Anadolu Agency.But there is more work to be done to ensure the protection of birds like this, as they are vital to the ecosystem,” she maintained.
The latest study that Soomro
reported, showed that despite the blanket ban on all dangerous medications, some medications, including diclofenac (for anti-inflammatory treatments) are readily available for use in veterinary medicine because of the low cost all over the nation.
Diclofenac was prohibited from South Asia in 2006, was prescribed to treat sick livestock. However, when the carcasses were thrown out for vultures and wolves to pick up the carcasses, the birds died from kidney failure.Other animal drugs like Aceclofenac Ketoprofen and Flunixin are also been found to be dangerous for vultures.