Hunter becomes the hunted

'Use of Diclofenac for cattle had been banned by the Drug Controller of India in 2006, but the use of drug still continues'

May 05, 2014 08:42 am | Updated May 23, 2016 06:37 pm IST - TIRUCHI

The disappearance of vultures, which feed on carcass and act as a natural scavenger, has made Arulagam, a research organisation working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, raise its voice to conserve the species.

Arulagam conducted a workshop in Tiruchi recently to create awareness among livestock inspectors and retired veterinary professionals and seek their cooperation in their initiative to conserve vultures.

In the absence of vultures, carcasses are rotting on roads, posing a serious health threat. The Coimbatore-based Arulagam undertook a research to analyse the absence of this species.

The researchers found that Diclofenac injected into cattle was the prime reason for vulture disappearance.

Diclofenac residue affects the kidneys of vultures, eventually leading to their death. Hence, the Drug Controller of India banned Diclofenac for cattle in 2006. But it is still administered to cattle, said S. Bharathidasan, secretary, Arulagam.

Arulagam has launched various initiatives for creating awareness among all sections of society on need to conserve the species with the active support of the Forest Department and Critical Ecosystem Partnerhip Fund (CEPF).

The workshop here was a continuing effort to seek the cooperation of people, particularly veterinarians.

Mr. Bharathidasan said vultures, which were found across the State, are now present in and around Mudumalai. He appealed to veterinarians to shun Diclofenac / Ketoprofen and instead encourage the usage of the alternative drug, Meloxicam. Even a small percentage of the residual of Diclofenac was enough to kill vultures, he noted.

Arumugam, president of Arulagam, presided over the meeting, in which more than 700 veterinary experts from different parts of the State participated.

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