20 vultures die due to poisoning in Assam; second incident within a month

  • Villagers had allegedly dumped a poisoned carcass of a cow in a paddy field to target stray dogs.
Forest officials and veterinarians examining a dead vulture at Gormari in Tinsukia district of Assam on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)
Forest officials and veterinarians examining a dead vulture at Gormari in Tinsukia district of Assam on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)
Published on Feb 09, 2021 07:22 PM IST
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In the second such incident within a month, 20 vultures including seven belonging to the critically endangered White Rumped species died after eating the poisoned carcass of a cow in Assam’s Tinsukia district, forest officials said.

The incident took place on Sunday at Gormari. Last month, 36 vultures had died in Dhulijan village of the same district after eating a poisoned carcass of a cow that was dumped in a padd field to target stray dogs.

“Preliminary investigation suggests that a cow had been poisoned and kept in a paddy field. The vultures ate its meat and died as a result,” Atikur Rahman, divisional forest officer, Doomdooma, said.

While 13 of the dead vultures are from the Himalayan Griffon species, seven are White Rumped, listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

All the vultures were buried at the spot after taking samples for tests. The forest department has filed an FIR in the local police station and investigation is underway to nab those involved in poisoning the cow's carcass.

Ten sick vultures, eight Himalayan Griffons and two Slender Billed (also listed as critically endangered by IUCN) were rescued by veterinarians and are being treated at a Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) facility.

“A cow had died in the village a few days back leaving a small calf, which was later killed by stray dogs. In order to target the dogs, the cow’s carcass was poisoned by the villagers. But the vultures ate its meat and died,” said Khanin Changmai, veterinarian with WTI.

On January 18-19, 36 vultures had died after eating the carcass of a cow, which had died after drinking water from a pond where villagers had mixed poison for a community fishing event.

In April last year, 19 vultures had died on a single day in Sivasagar district after eating a cow’s carcass. In March 2019, 39 vultures had died in the same district after eating poisoned meat.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021