Guwahati, Sunday, March 6, 2011
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Poison likely cause of vulture deaths
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, March 5 – The remains of a dog that had died due to poisoning could have had a role in the death of 31 Himalayan Griffon vultures (Gyps himalayensis) at Solmari in Goalpara district. It is now known that the endangered birds, with a dwindling population, could have died two or three days ago.

Today a team of experts from the Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre at Rani with support from forest personnel carried out a post mortem on three birds. The report, however, has not reached the State Wildlife Warden’s office at the time of filing of this report.

A forest official who had visited the site told The Assam Tribune that the vultures could have died after consuming the remains of a dog, which had been poisoned. Reports suggest that the dead vultures were found close to the spot where the poisoned canine was dumped a few days back.

The remains of the vultures were destroyed by forest personnel so that no further contamination could take place.

A senior forest personnel was of the view that the tragedy could have been prevented if the dog was buried or burnt instead of being left in the open. He said that an awareness campaign would be launched by the Forest Department to make people aware about the vultures and steps needed to conserve them.

It is worth mentioning that the Himalayan Griffons, like other vultures, are scavengers and often reside in colonies. Their small population is a cause of worry, and they are known to lay a single egg.

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