Govt to establish vulture safe zones in Khulna, Sylhet

Staff Correspondent

The government will establish vulture safe zones in greater Sylhet and greater Khulna to revive the population of the critically endangered species, environment and forest ministry Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman said Saturday.
The vulture safe zone in greater Sylhet would cover an area of 19,663 square km while in greater Khulna it would cover 27, 717 km, he told the opening session of the 4th conference of Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction, in short SAVE.
The safe zone would seek to revive the White-rumped vultures, the lone species of the nature’s scavenger a handful of which are still available, said the secretary.
He blamed the use of diclofenac for the drastic decline in the country’s vulture population.
Illegal use of diclofenac continues ignoring a ban in place since 2010, said the secretary.
The event was organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature at a city hotel.
The subcontinent’s vulture population has sharply declined to 10,000 from 40 million not too long ago, he said.
Out of Bangladesh’s three resident vulture species, two completely disappeared while the handful of white-rumped vultures still available, has been listed by the IUCN as a critically endangered species in 2002, said the secretary.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, International Species Recovery officer Chris Bowden and Bangladesh Bird Club president Enam Ul Haque also spoke
Vultures clean up the environment by eating rotting remains of dead animals and prevent the outbreak of anthrax, rabies and other diseases, said chief conservator of forests Md Yunus Ali.
Because of their eating habits vultures never attack or kill live animals.
South Asia’s 99 per cent of vultures disappeared in last two decades, said Yunus.
SAVE comprises several countries providing a platform to oversee, and coordinate conservation campaigns through fundraising to revive South Asia’s vulture population.
SAVE works in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia for vulture conservation.
Bangladesh Forest Department and Bangladesh National Vulture Recovery Committee are core partners of SAVE.
Scientists, vulture safe zone specialists, biologists, ecologists and bird-researchers from home and abroad are participating at the SAVE meeting.

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