SIVASAGAR, March 31 - The mysterious death of vultures at Nalanipathar near Barrajabari in Panidihing Mouza of Sivasagar district has set the alarm bells ringing for the environmentalists.
According to Jayashree Naiding, DFO of Sivasagar, 29 vultures died while 35 were administered medication by a team of veterinarians, volunteers of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and State Forest Department officials. The dead vultures included 29 Himalayan Griffons and six residential species of white-backed and slender-billed vultures.
Naiding visited the place yesterday to take stock of the rescue operation of the natural scavengers and also appealed to the villagers not to throw carcasses in the open fields. Samples were also sent to forensic laboratories the ascertain the exact cause of death.
The Department of Forest in association with Bombay Natural History Society observed International Vulture Conservation Day on September 3 last year near the place of occurrence at Demow following the death of over 50 vultures in the same place.
The then CCF, Ranjan Das, Dharitry Ray of BNHS and others expressed deep concern over the use of toxic material and harmful pesticides, nematicides and insecticide in the agriculture and tea sector. But lack of action on the part of the concerned departments have led to recurrence of the unfortunate incident, they observed.
Panidihing Reserve Forest, erstwhile Maharani Reserve Forest and 33.9 sq km of which was declared as Panidihing Bird Sanctuary in1999, is an important habitat of the species. However, due to rapid deforestation, several bird species have migrated to other places in quest of food and suitable habitat.