In a bid to prop up an endangered art form and simultaneously enhance awareness about the need to conserve the endangered vultures Arulagam, a non-governmental organisation facilitated a puppet show by performing artist Lakshmana Rao here on Wednesday. It evoked a good response.

Pointing out that the objective was to keep the ancient art form of puppetry alive and use its reach to drum up support for the ongoing efforts to conserve vultures, Arulagam Secretary S. Bharathidasan told The Hindu that though vultures are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, their numbers have dwindled over the years. As a result they are considered to be a flagship species among the bird community. If vultures are wiped out the threat posed by diseases to wild animals would grow.

Among the reasons for the decline in the population of vultures was the indiscriminate use of the drug Diclofenac. Though banned by the

Director General of Drugs Control, it was still freely available. A survey conducted by the organisation has revealed that the drug locally called, ‘sulluku marunthu’ can be easily purchased from some of the shops selling veterinary medicines and also the regular drug stores.

The district administration should crack down on such outlets.

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