Availability of animal carcasses attracting vultures to Tanahun

Published On: February 9, 2023 05:55 PM NPT

KATHMANDU, Feb 9: Easy availability of animal carcasses has helped conserve endangered vultures in Tanahun district. Availability of carcasses of cow and ox at Shishuwa Bhateri in Byas Municipality-10 has contributed to the conservation of the scavengers, also known as nature's cleanup crew. As a result, many vultures, which are at the risk of disappearing due to rampant urbanization, and lack of prey, have started making their presence in the area.

As part of its effort to conserve the bird, the municipality has managed the remains of animals and its habitat through Shivalaya Cow Conservation Centre, said the Center's chairperson Tulasi Ram Sapkota.

Established with the financial assistance of the municipality, the Center provides shelter to stray cows and oxen, and supplies remains of dead animals at the Madi river banks for vultures, he said.

"Earlier, the sight of vultures was rare. But nowadays, new bird species are spotted daily. The area has spotted around 100 vultures of nine species on a daily basis, according to ornithologists," he said.

The bird species have been disappearing due to a lack of their prey and the consumption of poisoned animal carcasses, said the municipality mayor Baikuntha Neupane.

The municipality has allocated an annual budget of around Rs 1.5 million for the Center. The allocated budget will be spent on salaries to the Center's employees, and hay and animal feed, it has been said. The Center has been fenced at the cost of Rs 1.2 million, said the municipality.

"All animals in nature have the right to live. An enabling climate should be created for them to live. We have managed animal remains for endangered vultures to eat, thus contributing to their conservation. This has helped maintain the entire ecosystem of nature," he said.

Many vultures died after being electrocuted through a touch at the high-voltage transmission lines, according to him. So, the attention of the Nepal Electricity Authority, the state-owned generator and distributor of power, has been alerted to the matter, he said. 

"I do not know the name of all vultures found here. Around nine species of the bird are found here," said Sapkota.

The Center spanning 300 ropani of public land has been managing stray cows and oxen, which have been kept in three blocks. Besides, a biogas plant has been constructed. It has also managed veterinary services for ailing animals. Ailing animals in the Center are fed the medicines as prescribed by vets being aware that their carcasses do not affect the health of vultures, said Dr Bal Kumar Shrestha, Chief of the Veterinary Service Expert Center.

The Center aims to manage stray animals, which are blamed for causing road menace and accidents in particular, and help conserve vultures, he said.

In 2063 BS, the government banned diclofenac responsible for severely affecting vultures.

Vultures are considered very important for biodiversity and environment, said Komal Raj Kafle, chief of the Division Forest Office.

He also praised the municipality for its efforts to conserve the birds. Stating that a safe and healthy environment is crucial to save humans and animals from infectious diseases like COVID-19, he stressed the need for carrying out development activities and managing healthy diet in a nature-friendly way.

Lately, vultures have been spotted in their nests in the area, said Yagya Prasad Sharma, chairperson of the Shishuwa Bhatteri Agriculture Cooperation Ltd, adding that the Center has been thanked for the reappearance of the birds.

According to experts, 32 vulture species are found in the world, and of them, nine are spotted in Asia, including eight in Nepal.


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