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Poisoned vultures nursed back to health

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 14 � Following a decision of the Forest Department, nine vultures that survived poisoning and were rescued from Chengeligaon of Dangori area under Doomdooma Forest Division (Talap Range), were released in the wild by the Eastern Assam Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) on Friday.

These vultures are victims of carcass poisoning that resulted in the death of 31 critically-endangered vultures on March 4. The surviving vultures were under the observation of Eastern Assam MVS unit led by Dr Samshul Ali with animal-keeper Hemanta Das, at the Na-Barmura campus in Saikhowa Forest Range. These scavengers gradually recovered and responded well to the treatment.

�The recovery of the poisoned vultures is a great success of the IFAW-WTI MVS team and the Forest Department. I appeal to the villagers to inform the department as soon as possible if they see any such developments. It was a sad incident; we have to learn the lesson from this incident for the conservation of this endangered bird species,� MK Dhar, DFO, Tinsukia Wildlife Division, said at an awareness meet held on the occasion.

The surviving individuals include seven Himalayan griffons, one slender-billed and one white-rumped vulture. Out of the nine vultures, eight were rescued from Chengeligaon and one from Kakopothar area of Tinsukia district.

Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head and Head Veterinarian, IFAW-WTI, said, �It is a moment of mixed feeling. We are happy to treat and revive these nine individuals, including the critically-endangered white-rumped and slender-billed vultures, but are equally concerned about the safety of these individuals once they are released back into the wild.�

Choudhury added that the greatest challenge for the team was to change the mindset of the people so that their release habitat remains free from such incidences hereafter.

Conservationist Joynal Abedin of Dibru Saikhowa Conservation Society, Gunadhar Konwar, honorary Wildlife Warden, and Raj Sonowal of Evergreen Foundation along with senior villagers Dimbeswar Sonowal and Minati Sonowal addressed the gathering on the urgent need of vulture conservation.

Biswajit Sonowal, a village youth and his friends helped in rescuing the sick birds from the carcass poisoning incident site on March 4, an act appreciated by forest officials and conservationists.

As the vultures have recovered and are out of danger, it became imperative to release them back into their habitat. Accordingly, the vultures were set free in the presence of the Eastern Assam MVS team along with officials of the Forest Department, conservationists and the villagers of Chengeligaon.

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Poisoned vultures nursed back to health

GUWAHATI, March 14 � Following a decision of the Forest Department, nine vultures that survived poisoning and were rescued from Chengeligaon of Dangori area under Doomdooma Forest Division (Talap Range), were released in the wild by the Eastern Assam Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) on Friday.

These vultures are victims of carcass poisoning that resulted in the death of 31 critically-endangered vultures on March 4. The surviving vultures were under the observation of Eastern Assam MVS unit led by Dr Samshul Ali with animal-keeper Hemanta Das, at the Na-Barmura campus in Saikhowa Forest Range. These scavengers gradually recovered and responded well to the treatment.

�The recovery of the poisoned vultures is a great success of the IFAW-WTI MVS team and the Forest Department. I appeal to the villagers to inform the department as soon as possible if they see any such developments. It was a sad incident; we have to learn the lesson from this incident for the conservation of this endangered bird species,� MK Dhar, DFO, Tinsukia Wildlife Division, said at an awareness meet held on the occasion.

The surviving individuals include seven Himalayan griffons, one slender-billed and one white-rumped vulture. Out of the nine vultures, eight were rescued from Chengeligaon and one from Kakopothar area of Tinsukia district.

Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head and Head Veterinarian, IFAW-WTI, said, �It is a moment of mixed feeling. We are happy to treat and revive these nine individuals, including the critically-endangered white-rumped and slender-billed vultures, but are equally concerned about the safety of these individuals once they are released back into the wild.�

Choudhury added that the greatest challenge for the team was to change the mindset of the people so that their release habitat remains free from such incidences hereafter.

Conservationist Joynal Abedin of Dibru Saikhowa Conservation Society, Gunadhar Konwar, honorary Wildlife Warden, and Raj Sonowal of Evergreen Foundation along with senior villagers Dimbeswar Sonowal and Minati Sonowal addressed the gathering on the urgent need of vulture conservation.

Biswajit Sonowal, a village youth and his friends helped in rescuing the sick birds from the carcass poisoning incident site on March 4, an act appreciated by forest officials and conservationists.

As the vultures have recovered and are out of danger, it became imperative to release them back into their habitat. Accordingly, the vultures were set free in the presence of the Eastern Assam MVS team along with officials of the Forest Department, conservationists and the villagers of Chengeligaon.