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Rajabhatkhawa breeding centre brings back Bengal’s vultures

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Even a few years back, if you looked carefully, you would have seen a considerable number of vultures flying high. Some used to look at them with wide eyes while some would be scared of them. The scenario is not the same anymore. Where have all the vultures gone? Vultures are nowhere to be found in South Bengal. Even in the skyline of North Bengal, the existence of vultures is rare. Bombay Natural History Society, which is the only organization responsible for the conservation of vultures has come up with a study which says that the number of vultures left in the state has dwindled at an alarming rate.

The total number of vultures in the whole state is less than one hundred. Multiple efforts were made to bring this birdfrom the verge of extinction back to nature. In the year 2006, the country’s second vulture breeding centre was created in Rajabhatkhawa of North Bengal with the primary agenda of bringing vultures back to nature through an artificial method as they are an important part of the eco-system. Due to long-term efforts, it has been possible to artificially breed several vultures at the Rajbhatkhawa Breeding Centre. They will soon be released in days to come. 

Today, almost 100 vultures of different species like Himalayan Griffon, Long Build, White bird, Slander Build exist in Rajbhatkhawa Breeding Centre. Among them, two Himalayan griffons will be freed in the open environment. Compared to other species, Himalayan Griffon is more likely to adapt and endure the adversities of nature. Before they are released, they will be equipped with artificial satellite collar so that their activities can be monitored. But they will not be released directly in a free environment. They will be first kept in bird aviary where other birds will also be present. They will thus be able to cope with other birds and develop a food collecting system.Gradually, these birds will be released after they are prepared to take on to a natural eco-system. 

But the state forest department wants to get adequate information about neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh where these vultures might roam about as they usually fly within a hundred-kilometer radius. Diclofenac is the primary cause behind the extinction of vultures. Before these vultures are released, it has to be checked whether Diclofenac is banned in these countries. If vultures disappear completely, the entire ecological system would get disrupted. The way Rajabhatkhawa Breeding Centre is making an endeavour to bring these endangered birds back, is truly commendable and shows a ray of new hope. 

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