12th International Vulture Awareness Day Celebrated:
International Vulture Awareness Day is celebrated every year on the first Saturday of September and throughout the week to raise awareness about the importance of vultures and participation in conservation.
Although International Vulture Awareness Day has been observed in South Africa since 2005; It has been celebrated as International Day only since 2009. This year, in view of the epidemic of COVID-19, limited programs have been conducted through mass media and virtual media.
Out of the nine species of vultures found in Nepal, five species of vultures are in danger of extinction not only from Nepal but also from the world. In Nepal, white, Himalayan, Hadfor, Raj, Khairo, Dangar, Sano Khairo, Sun & long-tailed vultures are found. Among them, the eagle, the little gray, the gold, and the long-tailed vulture are on the endangered list.
Diclofenac, a painkiller used in pet treatment, is the main reason for the decline in vulture numbers in Nepal and South Asia. Eating the carcasses of the animals used in the drug had caused a significant reduction in the number of vulture kidney failure.
An article has recently been published in an international journal on the status of the use of painkillers in veterinary medicine in countries including Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. According to Krishna Bhusal, co-author of the article and a vulture expert, the use of meloxicam, which is considered safe for vultures in Nepal, is about 90 percent and the use of harmful diclofenac is zero.
Since the vulture does not prey on itself but eats only the carcasses of dead animals, its role is important in making the environment pollution free and odorless. According to one estimate, an eagle eats at least 120 pounds [120 kg] of carcasses a year to help keep the environment clean.
Experts say that the vultures that skillfully exploit the carcass in a short time will also reduce the increase in the number of dogs, foxes, rats, and flies. Bhusal, who is also the vulture conservation program officer of the Nepal Bird Conservation Association, said that the result will help people to avoid rabies, plague, cholera, measles, and diarrhea epidemics and diseases like anthrax, brucellosis, and tuberculosis in livestock.
The role of vultures is important in the ecosystem balance. Vultures fly hundreds of kilometers in search of food. The vulture is called the vulture of nature.
According to an on-site study conducted by the association, the number of vultures has decreased by 91 percent from 2002 to 2011, but the number of vultures has been declining and increasing in recent times. Conservation challenges remain as vulture conservation-friendly environments still fail due to food and shelter shortages. Since conservation of vultures, which travel long distances in search of food, cannot be ensured by a single country, it also requires inter-country cooperation.
The vulture has been counted as a vulture of nature. According to Govinda Bahadur Singh, Life Member for Bird Conservation, the census was conducted in Nalgad Municipality, Bheri Municipality, Chhedagad Municipality, Barekot Municipality, and Kushe Municipality of Jajarkot. Nests were also counted along with the vultures.
Four gold vultures, six white vultures, 76 mountain vultures, eight vultures, and two vultures have been found in the district. Similarly, one nest of a gold vulture, three nests of a white vulture, 33 nests of mountain vulture, and three nests of bone vulture have been found while the nest of a royal vulture has not been found, said Singh. According to him, the calculation took about a month.