A small population of vultures have re-established themselves well in the Moyar river valley near Mangalapatti in Sathyamangalam Forest Division.

S. Chandrasekaran, member, Bombay Natural History Society, who recently visited the interior forest areas, sighted 20 nests and estimates about 40 vultures could be in the area.

According to him, the scavenger birds were able to re-establish well mainly due to abundance of prey even in the fragmented forests.

The nests had been built on the migration path of animals between Eastern and Western Ghats and Mudumalai and Bandipur sanctuaries, where animal movement is very good and there is not much human disturbance.

Data shows these forest scavengers were found in Karaikudi during 1950s and Ramanathapuram till 1960s. The presence of another species of vulture, Neophrons was recorded in Thirukkazhukundram near Chengalpattu and Gingee in Villupuram district till 1980s. Vulture sightings were reported in sanctuaries in south till 1970s.

Mr. Chandrasekaran says at present Sathyamangalam and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur in Karnataka are strongholds of vultures. They have also been sightied in Wayanad forests of Kerala.

Study by researchers has shown that veterinary use of ‘Diclofenac' was mainly responsible for devastating decline in South Asian vulture population from the late 1970s.

In Tamil Nadu stable vulture population is found only in the Moyar valley extending from Sigur plateau to Bhavani Sagar in Sathyamangalam. So efforts should be made to provide adequate protection to this area, say naturalists.

A proper study and estimate of vultures found in this region needs to be taken up.