Poisoned vulture comes back from the dead

vulture_release

A Himalayan Griffon vulture literally came back from the dead to live a new life in the wild, thanks to the never-say-die attitude of the dedicated team at IFAW and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)’s Wildlife Rescue Centre in Kaziranga, India.

The vulture was released along with another rehabilitated vulture from the Centre at Sivsagar in the presence of the villagers who found it.

Barely a month ago, 50 endangered vultures were poisoned in a village in Sivsagar in the Northeast Indian State of Assam. A solitary bird was rescued from the brink of death by Centre staff who rushed to the village.

Upon arriving, they were shocked to find 19 white-backed vultures, 3 slender-billed vultures and 29 Himalayan griffons dead on the site. It was quickly identified as an acute poisoning case. Post mortem samples and two whole carcasses were sent to Regional Animal Health Center, at Khanapara for further toxicological investigation and confirmatory diagnosis.

Seeing the condition of the solitary bird fighting for its life, veterinarian Dr. Biswajit Boruah moved the bird to the Wildlife Rescue Centre.

With treatment and rehabilitation, the vulture recovered in three weeks and was able to behave normally again, which led to the decision to release the bird back to its native site. 

Local leaders and officials from the village expressed their joy to see the bird return and released.

Suchan Ch Gogoi, from Sivasagar said , “We are very happy that at least one vulture is  saved and is being sent  back to its home range. It is the people of Bam Rajabari who should be appreciated for their effort to conserve the vulture nests in this area. The villagers feel that vultures are their friends and need to be protected. This kind of poisoning incident should be stopped for the greater interest of this endangered species.”  

This unfortunate incident was the result of ill-informed individuals who poisoned a cattle carcass in the hope of eliminating stray dogs.

The Assam Forest Department with the help of the Bam Rajabari Village Committee and various conservation groups have been organising vulture conservation awareness programme in the larger periphery of Bam Rajabari village for the last few years.

--SB

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