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Making out a case for the vultures

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ALL ABOUT BIRDS: Dominique Homberger (left), Permanent Secretary of the International Ornithological Congress, and Zafar Futhehally at the release of `India through its birds' in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
ALL ABOUT BIRDS: Dominique Homberger (left), Permanent Secretary of the International Ornithological Congress, and Zafar Futhehally at the release of `India through its birds' in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Vultures that have practically disappeared from India could be reintroduced with the combined efforts of bird watchers, bird enthusiasts, ornithologists and others, Dominique Homberger, Permanent Secretary of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC), has said.

She was speaking here after releasing "India Through Birds" edited by Zafar Futhehally who was unanimously elected honorary vice-president of IOC in August last.

"Reintroduction of vultures in Switzerland has succeeded and bringing back vultures in India is possible. It is sad that they have practically disappeared from India since 1990s," she said.

Ms. Homberger said that vultures formed an intricate part of Indian culture that had been illustrated and integrated in history, culture and folklore. The birds were exterminated in Switzerland during the 19th century by killing them.

Use of drugs

They had disappeared from India owing to the use of drugs in the cattle industry. It has led to the death of vultures which consumed the carcass of animals, she added.

Referring to the work of the International Ornithological Congress, Ms. Homberger said that it would be rechristened the International Federation of Ornithological Societies to promote collaboration of professional and amateur ornithologists, and nature enthusiasts.

It would also ensure capacity building and show the respective Governments the need to protect ecology, she added.

Ms. Homberger said, "A Pan Asian Ornithological Forum has been formed by India, Indonesia, Japan and China and we hope many more countries will become members of the forum."

Enviromentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy said the wetlands in and around Bangalore had declined owing to land grabbing, release of industrial effluents and dumping of waste.

"I am a prejudiced commentator, but the book provides interesting details of the birds in India. It is both entertaining and educative," ornithologist Zafar Futhehally said.

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