The coming generations in Ahmedabad will see the iconic birds, vultures only in their textbooks or on the internet. The population of the birds described in Ramayana is fast receding to the point of extintion in Ahmedabad.
Lack of suitable habitat, encorachment by humans and loss of green cover are the major causes cited. However, the most important reasn behind the phenomenon is an extensive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like diclofenac. The drug is used to treat domestic cattle. As the mighty birds serve as avian scavengers, they are directly affected by the harmful substance in the corpses of the deal animals.
Recently held vulture census has revealed that the vultures are fast disappearing. The census confirmed that the city does not have any white rumped vulture. The birds normally seen resting near the Indian Institute of Management (IIMA), Cantonment, LD College of Engineering, Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA) and Gujarat College have vanished.
Ahmedabad had 254 vultures including white-rumped, Indian and Egyptian species, a decade and half ago. However, the recently conducted vulture census revealed that only 21 resident vultures and three cinereous vultures (migratory species) are left in the entire district. The census was conducted by Gujarat forest department, in collaboration with the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The researchers found only two cinereous vultures in Viramgam and one in Dabla. Even at IIM which witnessed at least six vultures as regular visitors as late as in 2018, one does not see any now.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court directed the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation to take steps for the protection and conservation of vultures in a plea raising issue of the decline in the population of vultures in India.