Nine endangered vultures, got a second lease of life after the state forest department and International Fund for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) released them back into the wild.
Among the nine rescued, seven were the Himalayan griffons, one Slender bill and one White-rumped vulture. The endangeres species were rescued following an incident of poisoning in a village in upper Assam last week. 31 other vultures however, had sccumbed to death.
The birds were rescued by forest staff with the help of some local villagers from Chengeli-gaon, a village under Kakopathar police station in Tinsukia district as they were struggling for life after consuming the posionous cattle carcass on March 4.
“The surviving vultures were put under observation in the Eastern Assam Mobile Veterinary unit of IFAW-WTI under the care of vet Samshul Ali and animal keeper Hemanta Das at the Na-Barmura campus in the Saikhowa forest range, where they started gradually responding to the treatment. On Friday they were released back to nature in the presence of local villagers,” MK Dhar, divisional forest office, Tinsukia, said.
“The recovery of the poisoned vultures is a great success of the combined efforts by the Mobile Veterinary team of IFAW-WTI and the forest department. It was sad that 31 vultures had died from the poisioning. But we are happy that we could save nine others which are finally back in natural habitat,” he added.
IFAW-WTI regional head Bhaskar Choudhury 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 their safetys once they are released back in to the wild. It was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and interest of local youths in saving the surviving vultures.”
It was in the same area that seven vultures – four of them Himalayan griffons and three slender-billed ones – had died in a similar incident of consuming poisoned cattle carcass in April last year, while IFAW-WTI managed to rescue and save seven others.