Return of vultures brings back smile to Parsis in Kolkata | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Return of vultures brings back smile to Parsis in Kolkata

kolkata Updated: Apr 26, 2008 02:35 IST
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The return of vultures to the Kolkata sky after a three-year gap has delighted the Parsi community despairing of the loss of their traditional way of disposing the deceased.

The vultures' reappearance has been particularly welcomed by lone Parsi activist Dhan Baria who has been pursuing an alternative to leaving the dead on the 'Tower of Silence' after the number of birds dwindled alarmingly in Mumbai as well.
"It is definitely a very good news for the Parsi community," Baria told PTI.

Baria, who lives in Mumbai, was the first man to show the world photographs of piles of rotten, half-eaten bodies from the Tower there and vigorously campaigned for doing away with the practice of leaving corpses to be fed by vultures.

"It no longer works. Vultures have died and disappeared with the indiscriminate cutting down of tall palm trees around the Tower by realtors," 67-year-old Baria said.

The birds disappeared from the city sky in 2005. Recently around 20 of them have been sighted near Race Course and the nests were spotted on a few tall trees near Victoria Memorial here, suggesting the birds are breeding again.

Bird-lovers and forest officials have described the development as "great news". The state forest department has launched a vulture breeding programme at Buxa Tiger Reserve in north Bengal.

The disappearance of the vultures has been attributed to the widespread use of "diclofenac", a medicine to treat cattle whose carrion they feed on.