About 15 years ago, Ahmedabad district had 254 vultures including white-rumped, Indian and Egyptian species. But the recent census reveals that there are only 21 resident vultures and three gray vultures (migratory species) left in the district and that too near a panjrapol in Viramgam.
The two-day exercise ‘Vulture Population Estimation – 2022’ was conducted by the Gujarat Forest Department in collaboration with the Gujarat Foundation for Ecological Education and Research (GEER) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The census is carried out every four years.
Karthik Shastri of the Jivdaya Trust, which was part of the census exercise in Ahmedabad, confirmed that the city has no white-rumped vultures. “The city used to have several nesting sites of the vultures, but these are no longer preferred by the birds. We could only count 21 in the whole district, and all of them were in Viramgam. Two cinder vultures were sighted in Viramgam and one in Dabla,” he said. said. .
Officials said that, in 2018, at least six vultures were regular visitors to IIMA, but now it doesn’t have a single one. Construction and development work on campus and in surrounding areas has led to declines in the vulture population.
“Earlier, there was open land and trees at Gujarat University, but huge buildings have sprung up here. The IIMA campus has also seen more development over the years, which may have forced these birds to roost elsewhere.” he said Aditya Roy, a scholar engaged in research on vultures. He also attributed the decline in the vulture population to the extensive use of drugs such as diclofenac, nimesulide, ketoprofen and aceclofenac. He said that while the government banned 10ml and 30ml ampoules of diclofenac in 2016, these are still available as 1ml and 3ml ampoules.
Yatri Baxianother researcher, said, ‘Food shortages and global warming also have a role to play in declining vulture populations.’