By Soma Mitra
Kolkata, Mar 27 : Asian white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), also known as white-rumped vulture which had disappeared two years back, has surprised conservationists with their arrival at Kolkata.
About 20 of these rare birds have been seen in and around Maidan ground and Victoria Memorial here. Most interestingly not only birds, live nests are also seen on the tree tops which indicate that these birds are breeding and have not come to the city temporarily.
Gyps bengalensis, which are mainly found in India, Pakistan and South East Asian countries, has been enlisted as an endangered bird.
According to the Wild Life Department not a single vulture was seen in and around Kolkata in the last two to three years.
This species suffered a decrease of 99 percent population in India due to poisoning by diclofenac, a veterinary drug that remains in cattle carcasses and causes kidney failure in vultures that feed on the flesh , said V K Yadav , Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden of Western Circle .
Yadav said that after an extensive awareness campaigns by various NGOs and government bodies, both the central and the state governments had banned diclofenac. This has resulted in the returning of vultures to Kolkata.
The recent campaign for a greener Kolkata has also played a silent role to ensure return of vultures to the city.
After the Kolkata High Court order had passed an order against car parking at the Maidan and Victoria Memorial area, dusty grounds had been now transformed into lush green parks. Many trees were also planted. These trees now at least 40 feet tall, are the ideal place for vultures to make nests and to breed.