A team of forest officials headed by Kagaznagar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) P. Ramesh has brought good news for conservationists.

Vultures in the Murliguda beat deep inside the Bejjur Forest Range have begun breeding, which means the habitat is safe for critically endangered scavenger birds.

The team was lucky to get a photograph of the birds. The forest officials, who had camped close to the Pala Rapu cliff, reached the habitat of the vultures before sunrise. They spotted five birds, all long-billed vultures, soon after sunrise.

Mr. Ramesh said the spot is perfect for birds but there is scope for further improvement. According to the village people, the population of vultures close to the Pala Rapu had fallen suddenly about three years ago, he said.

Madapa Srikanth, the Gond Upa sarpanch of Kammarguda gram panchayat which is close to the vulture habitat, said the birds faced danger owing to effluents being released in the Peddavagu by the Sirpur Paper Mills. “The consumption of polluted water from Peddavagu finished hundreds of birds some three years ago,” he said.

“Another interesting aspect is that these vultures do not consume carcasses even if available in the vicinity of Pala Rapu. They seem to be visiting another vulture habitat situated in Sironcha in Maharashtra for food,” reveals M. Ram Mohan, Bejjur Forest Range Officer.

He also said this phenomenon necessitated the provision of food for birds locally. Other members of the team are Deputy Forest Range Officer S. Venugopal, Murliguda Forest Beat Officer Laxmi and base camp watcher Bakkaiah.