The first-ever vulture rescue centre has been set up in Dinajpur to provide treatment to the trans-boundary vulture -- Himalayan Griffon -- which travel the country each year during winter and fall sick frequently, reports UNB.
Bangladesh Forest Department and UCN Bangladesh in association with UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) set up the vulture centre at Sinra forest in Birganj upazila.
Himalayan Griffon vulture is one of the remaining native species in Bangladesh along with white-rumped ones.
"Every year, nearly 100 of Himalayan Griffon vultures travel to Bangladesh from the Himalayan range. Of them, 30-40 fall down on the ground for unknown reasons.They need treatment to make them fit to fly again," principal vulture investigator of IUCN Bangladesh ABM Sarowar Alam told UNB.
Vulture investigators suspect that the Himalayan Griffon vultures fall sick due to shortage of food, he said, but an extensive investigation is required to identify the actual reasons behind their sickness.
Sarowar said vulture investigators of the Forest Department and UCN Bangladesh rescued 24 Himalayan Griffons this year and took them to the vulture rescue centre.
After treatment, 16 vultures have already been released, he said, adding that the remaining eight are set to be released.
The vultures will be ringed and be released to the nature on March 6 (Monday) on the occasion of World Wildlife Day, which is observed on March 3 every year.
About the present status of vulture population, official data show that there are only 268 white-rumped vultures and about 100 Himalayan Griffon vultures in Bangladesh.
The vultures, called as nature cleaners, are on the verge of extinction from Bangladesh due to the loss of their habitats, food shortage and overuse of toxic veterinary drugs in domestic animals.
Toxic veterinary drugs -- Diclofenac and Ketoprofen -- are widely used in treatment of domestic animals in the country. And when vultures eat the carcass of dead animals in which the toxic drugs were used, they immediately suffer from kidney failure.
Sarowar said they are campaigning to make people aware of protecting vultures and they are asked not to kill any vulture that falls down on the ground after falling sick.
According to Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Himalayan Griffon species has been uplisted to 'Near Threatened' on the basis that it is suspected that it will undergo a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations owing to the impacts of Diclofenac use in livestock, a drug that has caused drastic declines in other Gyps species.
To save Asia's critically endangered vultures from extinction IUCN Bangladesh in collaboration with the Forest Department has taken an initiative titled 'White-rumped Vulture conservation in Bangladesh: Establishment of toxic drug free Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ)'.